Intel Ready To Talk Discrete Graphics, Get In On The Conversation Here

intel arctic sound gpu
Intel has been uncharacteristically vocal about its most recent plans to enter the discrete GPU market. Over the last year or so, the company has disclosed some tantalizing information and made a few high-profile hires, in its bid to build-up and flesh-out a plan that was first set in motion a few years ago.

Like any major semiconductor player, Intel is continually looking for growth opportunities in areas where the company may potentially shape the future direction of a particular market segment. As GPUs have morphed from targeted gaming and graphics devices alone, into massively-parallel AI and Deep Learning compute powerhouses, it makes sense that Intel wants to get in on the GPU’s expanding market penetration. The fact that the enthusiast-computing and PC gaming segments where GPUs are a key element are still growing, likely weighed heavily on the company’s decision to engage as well.

8th gen intel core processor
Intel Kaby Lake G With Discrete GPU And HBM2 On Multi-Chip Module

Graphics Legacy And Execution

Intel has publicly stated that its goal is to enter the discrete GPU space in 2020, with a brand new GPU architecture. Although AMD and NVIDIA garner the lion’s share of attention in the discrete GPU space currently, Intel’s integrated graphics solutions still push a massive number of pixels across multiple devices, even for gamers. Nearly 10% of all users on Steam are running Intel graphics, according to the most recent hardware survey. Although the company has historically been criticized for perceived performance, compatibility, and feature shortcomings with its graphics drivers and software, in recent years significant efforts have been made to address those issues and improve software support across the board. As its discrete graphics plans inch closer to fruition, Intel is already at the point where it’s announcing launch-day support and optimizations for leading-edge games and many casual gamers are satisfied with the experience Intel’s graphics solutions offer.

Building A Graphics Leadership Team

In preparation for the development and delivery of its next-gen discrete GPU, Intel has put a well-seasoned team in place that is engaged in everything from marketing to research and development. Over the last couple of years, Intel has brought on Jim Keller, former lead architect at AMD, and made him Senior VP of the company's silicon engineering team. AMD’s former senior marketing director, Chris Hook, currently handles Discrete Graphics and Visual Technologies Marketing at Intel. Antal Tungler, the Radeon Technology Group’s former senior manager of Global Technology Marketing, is an Intel Graphics Software strategist. Darren McPhee (also formerly of AMD) is now the Director of Product Marketing, Discrete Graphics at Intel. And we can’t forget Raja Koduri, the former head of the Radeon Technologies Group and current Chief Architect, Senior Vice President and GM of the Cores & Visual Computing & Edge Computing Solutions at Intel.

Intel Raja Koduri
Intel's Raja Koduri

At this point, Intel appears to have hardware development well underway, the software group is stepping up its game (quite literally), and a team is in place to get the company’s messaging and vision out to the masses. What we don’t have just yet are many specifics. When Intel first disclosed its plan, Dr. Murthy Renduchintala, Intel’s chief engineering officer and group president of the Client and Internet of Things Businesses and System Architecture said, “We have exciting plans to aggressively expand our computing and graphics capabilities and build on our very strong and broad differentiated IP foundation...we will add to our portfolio of unmatched capabilities, advance our strategy to lead in computing and graphics, and ultimately be the driving force of the data revolution.”

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An Opportunity To Ask Intel About Its Discrete GPU Vision

So, Intel wants to be leader in gaming graphics and GPUs for AI and Big Data. That’s some potentially disruptive news. But how are they going to do it? We’re sure some of you have as many questions about Intel’s plans as we do. Fortunately, we will soon have the opportunity to engage with Intel directly and probe the company for some more information on its efforts. Before we do, however, we thought we’d connect with all of you, to hear what you’d like learn from Intel as well. If you have questions you’d like to us to ask, please let us know. We plan to cultivate the questions, take Intel’s responses, and present them for you here, once we’ve rolled them all up. Don't expect product-specific answers or deep architecture news at this point, of course, but high level goals are fair game. Feel free to fire away in our comments section here and across social media, where you can find us @HotHardware or /HotHardware. Include the hashtag #AskIntelGPU so we can capture your questions more easily and stay tuned for the answers in a few days.