Intel Iris Max Xe Graphics
Intel Iris Max Xe Graphics

Intel DG1 is Now Iris Max, Featured in 2 Laptops So Far

Earlier this week, Asus announced its Vivobook Flip 14, which would be fairly unremarkable were it not for the fact that it uses Intel’s DG1 dGPU. On the spec sheet, it is merely referred to as “First Intel Discrete Graphics”. Today, Acer announced a laptop which also features DG1, and the official branding is “Iris Max”, a name which leaked earlier this month. We are also supposed to expect a laptop from Dell but this is firmly in rumor territory at the moment.

I was actually a little surprised to see DG1 get multiple design wins given that my sources a few months ago informed me that it got just one, and that one depended on a hefty CPU discount. My sources are not perfect, but the problem I illustrated concerning DG1 still applies: very few OEMs want it. Even Acer is launching laptops with the MX450, in spite of Intel’s process lead, supply chain, and financial horsepower. It’s not a good look.

Concerning the DG1 itself, though, there’s one interesting thing to discuss: the VRAM. We know it’s 4 GB large, but the type is not certain. According to a leaked spec sheet of the Acer laptop with Iris Max, the VRAM type is actually LPDDR4X. This makes some sense given its segment, but on the other hand, if it’s being paired with Tiger Lake only which often uses LPDDR4X, wouldn’t it just be cheaper to just use the system RAM? I suppose you could argue even further that it would just be cheaper to use the iGPU and not bother with DG1 but that’s another conversation.

So, Iris Max, or the GPU formerly known as DG1. It is Intel’s first foray into discrete graphics (Larrabee doesn’t count) and it’s not looking too great. On the other hand, it’s their very first try, it’s in real products, and it’s just a port of mobile graphics onto a discrete form factor. DG2, Arctic Sound, and Ponte Vecchio are up next and these are expected to be designed from the ground up to be discrete. Xe isn’t dead, not yet at least.

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