Published in Graphics

Intel might be preparing to off Nvidia

by on08 December 2017

No, don’t laugh

There is something in Chipzilla’s recent GPU moves which suggests the outfit might be about to make a move against Nvidia.

For those who came in late, Chipzilla has been making rather a lot of GPU related announcements this year. It partnered with AMD to integrate the latter's Radeon graphics into a new chipset for laptops, then it formed a new Core and Visual Computing Group, led by AMD's former Radeon chief Raja Koduri, to develop its own discrete GPUs.

The Radeon graphics move could check Nvidia’s push into mobile GPUs and if Koduri’s team actually earns its money it could create discrete GPUs to break Nvidia and AMD's duopoly in the add-in board market.

Intel makes a lot of GPUs because of its integrated graphics (Intel HD and Iris). Intel initially introduced the Intel HD integrated graphics processors (IGPs) in 2010, then updated them with higher performance Iris and Iris Pro versions in 2013.

Signs that Intel might be up to something happened when it did not bother to renew the 2011 graphics cross-licensing agreement with Nvidia.

With an 80 percent share of PC CPUs and a 99 percent share of data centre CPUs, Intel can bundle its discrete GPUs with new CPUs at steep discounts, which makes them attractive to OEMs, businesses, and mainstream consumers.

It could slash its production of Intel HD and Iris chips to promote sales of its new Radeon-powered chipsets or discrete GPUs, or add optimisations to give its discrete GPUs an edge against competing cards when they are paired with Intel CPUs.

It could also check Nvidia’s data centre plans by removing the need to pair Xeon CPUs with Nvidia GPUs.

The weapon of choice here would be Knights Mill, a new Xeon Phi chip optimised for machine learning tasks with the field programmable gate arrays it acquired from Altera. If that does not work, then it could add a discrete GPU to that bundle.

Chipzilla has been working on limiting Nvidia’s moves to put Tegra into the car industry by buying Mobileye and Movidius and its autonomous driving partnership with BMW and Fiat Chrysler.

Shareholders appear to see this happening. Nvidia shares have been falling since Intel indicated some of its GPU plans.

It will not happen all at once and in the short term Nvidia has little to worry about, but in the medium to long term the appearance of Chipzilla on Nvidia’s turf will me a major issue.

Last modified on 08 December 2017
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Read more about: