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New Linux driver signals Intel Xe iGPU+dGPU multi-GPU support

Intel Xe GPUs will soon have a iGPU+dGPU multi-GPU support. (Source: Hexus)
Intel Xe GPUs will soon have a iGPU+dGPU multi-GPU support. (Source: Hexus)
Intel's upcoming Xe GPUs will feature support for multi-GPU setups, according to a recent Linux kernel driver update. Xe will be able to form hybrid GPU pairs with integrated and discrete Xe SKUs. There is a possibility of multi-GPU support scaling up to additional Xe discrete GPUs as well.

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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.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 08 > New Linux driver signals Intel Xe iGPU+dGPU multi-GPU support
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2019-08- 4 (Update: 2019-08- 5)
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam - News Editor
I am a cell and molecular biologist and computers have been an integral part of my life ever since I laid my hands on my first PC which was based on an Intel Celeron 266 MHz processor, 16 MB RAM and a modest 2 GB hard disk. Since then, I’ve seen my passion for technology evolve with the times. From traditional floppy based storage and running DOS commands for every other task, to the connected cloud and shared social experiences we take for granted today, I consider myself fortunate to have witnessed a sea change in the technology landscape. I honestly feel that the best is yet to come, when things like AI and cloud computing mature further. When I am not out finding the next big cure for cancer, I read and write about a lot of technology related stuff or go about ripping and re-assembling PCs and laptops.