Following on previous reports that Intel partnered with long-time rival AMD to integrate Radeon graphics straight into the next generation of Intel mobile CPU's, the iconic chip maker has announced that beyond this partnership, it has moved to target the high-end discrete GPU space as well.
Yesterday, Chief GPU architect at AMD, Raja Koduri left the 'red side', joining the 'blue side' today in a shock announcement.
Koduri joined Intel as the Senior VP of the Core and Visual Computing Group, which will head the discrete GPU project among other things. He has been part of the AMD graphics business for many years, heading it twice during his time at the company. He has worked at Apple too, serving as the director for its GPU efforts.
Earlier this year, Koduri notified the Radeon Technologies Group (RTG) team that he would take a sabbatical to focus on his family in an internal letter, with current AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su taking the reigns until then.
Intel isn't new to the GPU space, as it has attempted to become a formidable player in that market before. Most notable attempts were during the 90's when it launched the i740 series, and then again during the 00's with the failed 'Larrabee' project. It is, however, mostly known for the low powered integrated graphics unit that comes built-in to some of its processors.
Intel and Nvidia have had a mutually beneficial relationship for many years, mostly since both of these two company's products generally work well together. But this relationship has become strained, after Nvidia moved to take a chunk out of the high-margin server business, including moves to 'ween' itself off of its over-reliance on Intel products with NVLink, supporting the IBM PowerPC processor.
Intel is reportedly aiming to build several graphics products. At the bottom-end, one can assume that this is where its integrated GPU's would reside, as it moves up the ladder to take on high-end solutions like the Nvidia GTX1080Ti, and AMD Vega 64. It remains to be seen if it will actually target the mid-range market as well.
As reported earlier, Intel aims to build a mobile processor that takes up half the space that current configurations do, pointing to a complete SoC integrating HBM2 (high-bandwidth memory), the CPU, and GPU. Beyond the obvious space that could be saved on the board, the chip will reportedly use half the power required to run the memory modules. The company wants to ensure that, once these products come to market, functional drivers will be readily available to make sure that they work well with their intended tasks.
With Intel in a dominant position in both the consumer and enterprise hardware market, it remains to be seen how this project pans out in the end.
Source and images: AnandTech