New driver releases sometimes tend to shed some light on upcoming products. For example, Intel released a new set of drivers for its 11th Gen NUC systems this week that already lists the company's rumored upcoming 3rd Gen discrete GPU as well as forthcoming CPUs through 2025.
In addition to listing many existing Intel processors as well as integrated and standalone GPUs, the iigd_ext.inf file of the new driver also mentions numerous unreleased products (via VideoCardz and @Komachi_Ensaka), including:
- Arc Alchemist 'DG2' discrete GPUs (all 32 of them)
- Two codenamed "Elasti" DG GPUs based on the Battlemage architecture that is believed to belong to the DG3 lineup due in 2023
- Mobile Alder Lake CPUs (on track for early 2022 launch)
- Raptor Lake processors (expected in 2022)
- Meteor Lake processors (expected in 2023)
- Arrow Lake (presumably due in 2024)
- Lunar Lake processors (projected to hit the market in 2025)
The discovery of the codenames that are pretty much already well known is a good confirmation that these products are actually in development. Meanwhile, we can now speculate that Intel's upcoming CPUs will feature integrated GPUs based on the Alchemist (DG2) or Battlemage (DG3) architectures, not the Xe-LP (DG1) design that Intel uses for both Tiger Lake and Alder Lake.
Perhaps even more interesting, the driver also mentions Intel's unreleased Arc A380, Arc A350, Arc A370M, Arc A350M, and Iris Xe A200M graphics families.
We don't have any solid information on these parts. Still, we can speculate that the Arc A380-series and Arc A350-series products are discrete GPUs for desktops, while the Arc A370M-series and Arc A350M-series are standalone graphics processors for notebooks. In contrast, the Iris Xe A200M is either a low-end discrete graphics chip (less likely) or Intel's next-generation integrated GPU family (more likely). Keeping in mind that Intel's Arc Alchemist family of chips presumably consists of two ASICs, the A380/A370M and A350/A350M monikers represent this quite well.
The driver in question is Intel's Intel Graphics DCH Driver for Intel NUC Kit 11th Gen version 188.8.131.5299, signed off on December 7 and published on December 14. It was still available at Intel.com at press time. @Komachi_Ensaka, who discovered the driver, suggests that version number 9999 points to the fact that this is a test driver, though keeping a beta driver on the official site for days is odd.
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Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.