Comparison reviews

Intel Xe DG1 Benchmarked: Battle of the Weakling GPUs

We first heard about Intel’s Xe Graphics ages ago, and even got a preview of the Xe DG1 “Test Vehicle” at CES 2020. As time continues ticking by, what once might have looked like something with the potential to show up as a budget option on our list of the best graphics cards feels increasingly like a part with no real market. Intel looks to be using this as more of a proof of concept than a full-fledged release — a chance to work out the kinks, as it were, before the real deal DG2 launch sometime, presumably later this year or in early 2022. Technically, the DG1 is available, but it can only be purchased with select pre-built PCs. That’s because it lacks certain features and requires special BIOS and firmware support from the motherboard to function. But if you could buy it, or if you think one of these pre-built systems might be worthwhile, how does it perform? That’s what we set out to determine.

Best Buy currently sells precisely one PC that has an Xe DG1 card. The system comes from CyberPowerPC with a passively cooled DG1 model from Asus, and it might be the only pre-built and DG1 model considering what you get. Besides the graphics card, the PC otherwise has reasonable-looking specs, including a Core i5-11400F, a 512GB M.2 SSD, 8GB DDR4-3000 memory, and even a keyboard and mouse. One problem, however, is the use of a single 8GB DIMM from XPG. Another concern is the limited storage space — 512GB is enough for typical SOHO use, perhaps, but it can only hold a few of the larger games in our test suite. We fixed both problems by upgrading the memory and adding a secondary storage device.

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