Published in PC Hardware

Raja Koduri is running Intel's CPUs and GPUs

by on12 November 2017

Discrete graphics solutions too

Intel dropped the nuclear news on Wednesday that Raja Koduri will become its chief architect, snf senior vice president of the newly formed Core and Visual Computing Group, and general manager of a new initiative to drive "edge" computing solutions.

Wow, that is one long title, but let’s spend a second to analyze what this means. Intel is clear, Koduri will expand Intel’s "leading position in integrated graphics" for the PC market with high end discrete graphics solutions for a broad range of computing segments.

Everyone jumped the gun and walked away with the high end title 'Discrete Graphics Solutions' as most of them - Intel included,  reckoned they could pull the   fabled rabbit out of the hat and make a discrete graphics solution overnight. It will take years. I will come back to that later.

Big job to fix CPU and GPU

A more important fact that was confirmed by our well informed industry sources is that Raja will be responsible for the Core roadmap. Just read this carefully. He is Intel’s chief architect, and the  senior vice president of the newly formed Core and Visual Computing Group.

It is no big secret that Intel got lazy with its CPU Core roadmap. Intel’s inability to move from 14nm to 10nm has definitely become a problem. AMD got back in the game with Ryzen, Epyc and soon the Raven Ridge Mobile Ryzen.

Intel got very lazy and lost the ability to move from the 14nm node. Let me refresh your memory. Broadwell, a 14nm variation of Haswell, Core 5000 series launched in 2014. The 14nm Skylake Core 6000 series came in August 2015. The 14nm Kaby Lake was "launched" in January 2017, the 14nm Kaby Lake R in August 2017 and the 8th Gen Coffee Lake in October 2017. Ice lake in 10nm has at least been taped out, but, of course, it is far from shipping. 

10nm and going forward

Intel promised  the  Cannon Lake 10nm in 2017 but that didn’t happen. This process has been delayed for years now. Raja will work with Dr. Murthy Renduchintala to fix this problem. To refresh your memory, Dr. Murthy Renduchintala was a high profile hire from Qualcomm who is now Intel’s chief engineering officer and group president of the Client and Internet of Things Businesses and System Architecture.

Intel was beaten by Qualcomm to 10nm in both consumer mobile products and now even servers. If someone had told you this a few years back, it would sound like a fairy tale but the world has changed. Fabs have tens of millions of mobile phone chips and Samsung and Qualcomm have beaten Intel to 10nm. Even Apple beat Intel, the king of fabs, to 10nm.

Raja will help accelerate Intel to 10nm transition and since he worked at Apple, ATI and later AMD / RTG he has quite a knowledge of the challenges. Intel has the engineering brains and resources and the money but it needs to change its "fabs come first" mentality.

AMD's big loss

There is absolutely no doubt that Raja is a big loss for AMD. Let me put it this way. Raja was doing a great job fighting Nvidia with a significantly smaller budget. He never slayed Nvidia but came close quite a few times. With Intel’s resources and engineering, he has a chance.

If that GPU ever ends up running games, even better, but Intel needs to fix quite a few things before it gets to that. That is why Murthy and Raja will work hard in 2018 and going forward.

Last modified on 13 November 2017
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