We're all a little curious about what's in store for us with Intel Xe Graphics, and we've been following the company's @IntelGraphics Twitter channel closely. The latest tweet gave a hint of what might be on the horizon:
Silicon bring-up with many tens of billions of transistors needs surgical teamwork of various engineering functions. With only remote access to labs spread worldwide, this was deemed impossible, until now. #NoTransistorLeftBehind #JoinTheOdyssey pic.twitter.com/z3ub5eOV9tMay 1, 2020
The object of interest is the image of the chip next to the AA battery. The tweet itself doesn't reveal much about the chip, nor does it have any inscriptions on it to guide us. All we have to go by is that this image was tweeted by @IntelGraphics, and that it's a big chip. Also, Raja Koduri has previously shown a wafer with what appears to be massive Xe HP die, which would coincide with this final chip package.
[Update: @IntelGraphics deleted a previous tweet showing Raja and Jim with masks and replaced it with the above tweet focused just on the chip. Updated tweets confirm this is for data center, not consumers.]
Consequently, the only sensible thing we can tell you is that it's clearly a big chip, and appears to be some kind of GPU packaged like a CPU. There could be an interposer under the IHS, with multiple HBM2 chips. We can't say without additional images, though the center grid does hint that there might be four separate chiplets inside. Also, there appear to be two separate power grids for each of the chiplets, the smaller for HBM2e and the larger for the actual GPU most likely. And of course, the whole package is ready to drop into a socket.
We also have to note that the tweet appears to have been sent out by Raja Koduri, who is the chief architect and VP of Intel's graphics department. Therefore, it is quite safe to assume that it has something to do with Xe Graphics. Beyond that lies the realm of speculation.
Watching the image do the rounds on Twitter, it's clear that nobody has a definitive answer as to what this chip is. As we note in our Xe Graphics article, however, unless Intel is trolling everyone, our best guess is that this is the data center Xe HP Graphics variant. We count 2,688 pads on the LGA package, which is significantly more than sockets LGA2066 and LGA1200, but also fewer than the current Xeon chips use for FCLGA3647.
We can also get a good estimate of the total package size, thanks to the AA battery. The battery measures 49.2-50.5mm long and is 13.5-14.5mm in diameter. Based on that, the package is approximately the same area as six AA batteries, measuring about 80 x 52 mm. Or if you want to be more precise, the package is somewhere between 77.6 x 50 mm and 80 x 52 mm based on the relative sizes of the battery and package (plus or minus another 2mm). Given the size, it's again unlikely this is a consumer oriented product.
One thing is clear: Intel is taking the "go big or go home" mentality with this chip. Time will tell what it is exactly, what it can do, and whether it can compete with AMD and Nvidia when it comes to the best graphics cards.