New Linux driver signals Intel Xe iGPU+dGPU multi-GPU support
It is well-known by now that Intel is prepping up its Xe GPUs to be viable AMD and NVIDIA contenders, at least in the mid-range at first and possibly at the high-end sometime down the line. Recently, we also saw some leaked driver references to the next gen Gen12 graphics architecture that will form part of Xe as well as integrated Intel GPUs.
A couple of months ago, we reported that Intel Gen11 OpenGL (i915) and Vulkan (ANV) drivers for Linux are feature-complete and that we should be seeing them integrated in distros running Linux kernel 5.2 and above. Phoronix, which is closely monitoring the Intel kernel driver patches, now notes that restructuring of the i915 Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) driver has begun in preparation for Xe's multi-GPU support. The patch notes say,
With discrete graphics system can have both integrated and discrete GPU handled by i915."
Whether this would span to include multi-dGPU support like SLI or CrossFire remains to be seen. As long as Xe supports all the necessary APIs to make use of a multi-GPU setup, things should theoretically turn out to be good. We know that Intel is positioning Xe as a scalable platform that spans across iGPUs to datacenters so an SLI/CrossFire-esque support from the beginning is not outside the realm of possibility. Ultimately, it is up to games and compute programs to harness the available horsepower.
Corrigendum: The original article detailed Koduri's mistranslated statements about Xe and Intel's subsequent clarification. We have already covered that earlier. The article has been edited accordingly.