Intel confirms first graphics chips will land in 2020

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 12, 2018 - 02:21 PM |
Tagged: Intel, graphics, gpu, raja koduri

This article first appeared on MarketWatch.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich disclosed during an analyst event last week that it will have its first discrete graphics chips available in 2020. This will mark the beginning of the chip giant’s journey towards a portfolio of high-performance graphics products for various markets including gaming, data center, and AI.

Some previous rumors posited that a launch at CES 2019 this coming January might be where Intel makes its graphics reveal, but that timeline was never adopted by Intel. It would have been drastically overaggressive and in no way reasonable with the development process of a new silicon design.

Back in November 2017 Intel brought on board Raja Koduri to lead the graphics and compute initiatives inside the company. Koduri was previously in charge of the graphics division at AMD, helping to develop and grow the Radeon brand, and his departure to Intel was thought to have significant impact on the industry.

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A typical graphics architecture and chip development cycle is three years for complex design, so even hitting the 2020 window with engineering talent is aggressive.

Intel did not go into detail about what performance level or target market this first discrete GPU solution might address, but Intel EVP of the Data Center Group Navin Shenoy confirmed that the company’s strategy will include solutions for data center segments (think AI, machine learning) along with client (think gaming, professional development).

This is a part of the wider scale AI and machine learning strategy for Intel, that includes these discrete graphics chip products in addition to other options like the Xeon processor family, FPGAs from its acquisition of Altera, and custom AI chips like the Nervana-based NNP.

While the leader in the space, NVIDIA, maintains its position with graphics chips, it is modifying and augmenting these processors with additional features and systems to accelerate AI even more. It will be interesting to see how Intel plans to catch up in design and deployment.

Though few doubt the capability of Intel for chip design, building a new GPU architecture from the ground up is not a small task. Intel needs to provide a performance and efficiency level that is in the same ballpark as NVIDIA and AMD; within 20% or so. Doing that on the first attempt, while also building and fostering the necessary software ecosystem and tools around the new hardware is a tough ask of any company, Silicon Valley juggernaut or no. Until we see the first options available in 2020 to gauge, NVIDIA and AMD have the leadership positions.

Both AMD and NVIDIA will be watching Intel with great interest as GPU development accelerates. AMD’s Forest Norrod, SVP of its data center group, recently stated in an interview that he didn’t expect Koduri at Intel to “have any impact at Intel for at least another three years.” If Intel can deliver on its 2020 target for the first in a series of graphics releases, it might put pressure on these two existing graphics giants sooner than most expected.

Source: MarketWatch

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June 12, 2018 | 11:15 PM - Posted by bobhumplick (not verified)

if intels process tech could be combined with a solid gpu design that could be a winner. but dont expect a 1080 level card. intel is all about servers and laptops if you didnt know. just watch their computex (or any) show they put on. i would expect a datacenter line that might be high end but the gaming product will be a gpu in the 1050 range plus or minus to replace amd in their intel\amd combo things they sell. thats all intel wants for gaming.

and they dont really have to start from scratch either. their current gpu's are underestimated in some ways at least for what they are. teh uhd 650 has 392 shaders and uses ddr4 for memory and has to share it with a bandwidth hungry cpu to boot. compare that to one of the new gt 1030's that use ddr4 instead of gddr5. they get half the perf of the gddr5 version. intels get half of the ddr4 version but its running at a much slower clock and has no driver optimization. if intel took their shaders and upped the count to the levels of other cards on the market and had gddr5 or even 6 they could almost already compete. and the clocks could be amazing with intels process.

June 13, 2018 | 02:44 PM - Posted by Rocky123 (not verified)

If they can pull it off great as it puts another competitor into the graphics card market. It most likely won't change the pricing landscape all that much though. I do think Intel because they are coming into the market with 0% market share in the dGPU market will have to come in at better pricing than the others. Then again Intel marketing will see their iGPU market share and think hey we have a good chunk of the market lets price the crap out of these things and also it being Intel this is what we all should expect.

June 14, 2018 | 01:47 AM - Posted by Photonboy

Legacy gaming support may be somewhat problematic. Even if games just a few years old work fine they may see relative losses in performance that people deem unacceptable.

I know some games see upwards of 20% losses when graphics drivers aren't carefully tuned.

On the other hand you always have to cut support for older software so if they can offer something competitive with a known ADVANTAGE over the competition that will sway some to go with Intel.

After the high prices partly caused by crypto mining and memory it would be great to see a 3rd party enter the gaming GPU market and hopefully create more competition (especially with AMD struggling to match NVidia).

I'm guessing Intel's main target is NOT gaming but they probably crunched the data and said it made sense to build for gamers as well as there are overarching costs, plus some users both game AND use GPU-accelerated non-gaming applications so want a GPU to do both.

June 22, 2018 | 06:50 AM - Posted by RockahoIic (not verified)

This what happens when AMD doesn't treat the engineers right.
They Join the competition company and create wonders there instead.
But as a consumer, It nice to see more competition in GPU market and driving prices down.

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