Intel has announced a discrete graphics accelerator for server use. The first model, the H3C XG310, was launched in partnership with a Chinese manufacturer and targets the Android cloud gaming market. Among the first partners to use the new product are Gamestream, Tencent Games and Ubitus.
The H3C XG310 includes four GPU chips based on the Xe-LP architecture, the closest relative of Iris Xe Max discrete graphics, and 8GB of LPDDR4 memory. Apparently, this is SG1, which became known at the end of the summer. The slightly shortened single-slot XG310 has a full height and PCIe 3.0 x16 interface that is shared between individual GPUs via an onboard PCIe switch.
Two of these cards are said to be capable of serving up to 160 players simultaneously (depending on the type of game), with the actual rendering of the picture and its encoding on the fly. For example, Tencent says they manage to support 100 sessions of the popular games King of Glory and Arena of Valor on a dual-map server. A typical server configuration can include up to four accelerators. It should be noted that in this case the priority is given not so much to the quality of the graphics as to the low level of latency.
Besides, the new accelerators can be used simply for (de-) encoding video streams. AVC, HEVC, MPEG2, VP9 and AV1 standards are supported. The software component includes Intel Media SDK, which will soon be included in oneAPI VPL (Video Processing Library), as well as ready-made plug-ins for FFmpeg. For 3D graphics, it is proposed to use the open Mesa library. Intel also announced a new project Flipfast – a stack focused on games in the Linux environment, which allows you to run graphics applications in a virtual machine with virtually no performance loss when working with the GPU.
In general, Intel is actively developing support for Linux, which will be useful in the future when launching “full-fledged” GPU-accelerators of a higher class. In particular, the company redesigned the drivers, unifying most of the code for Linux and Windows and improving performance. Intel also develops out-of-the-box software suites for RHEL, SuSE and Ubuntu. The new software stack relies heavily on oneAPI.