AMD and Intel just announced early today a major partnership, combining Intel’s CPU technology with AMD’s graphics. The move came as a complete surprise, and has potentially far reaching ramifications. Here’s what we think some of those might be, and how two big players joining forces might affect PC gaming.
Jarred: There are several facets to this story. First, in speaking with AMD and Intel, it’s clear this isn’t the death knell for all Intel Graphics solutions. This is designed to take over for the existing H-series SKUs, which basically is Iris Plus/Pro. Those GPUs are only found in higher-end solutions, like the quad-core mobile chips, or in Apple’s laptops. I don’t see Intel dropping its entry level HD Graphics solutions any time soon.
Looking deeper into the announcement, Intel specifically mentions the pairing of HBM2 with the integrated graphics solution. Again, that’s where Iris currently exists, and to be clear, Iris is a really expensive (from the manufacturing side) solution. It bundles a relatively large eDRAM chip into the package, but the increased bandwidth still isn’t going to turn a low-end GPU solution (HD Graphics GT3/GT4) into a gaming powerhouse.
Part of me would love for Intel to shelve its graphics department and just put the money into licensing a proven solution. But even if that were to happen, Intel would need to maintain drivers for years to come—its HD Graphics solutions remain the ‘most popular’ GPU by a huge margin, thanks to the fact that they’re in every major CPU Intel has manufactured dating back to 2010. So we can just forget about that. But as a mainstream to higher-end gaming solution (we’ll have to see how it performs when the parts launch), replacing Iris Pro with something better is definitely needed.