Surprisingly, AMD and Intel have made an announcement of a joint effort to develop a processor that is a combination of Intel’s CPU architecture and AMD’s graphics technology. The new gadget will be a perfect and light notebook for gamers and enthusiasts. Despite its size and lightness, both companies ensure that it will deliver the same gaming performance as today’s discrete notebook GPUs, but will require less than half the footprint.
The new single chip will be part of Intel’s current 8th Generation notebook processor lineup which will be launched in the first quarter of 2018. The rumors have been heard about the collaboration between Intel and AMD for some time, with some reports going so far as to suggest that Intel was in talks to acquire AMD’s Radeon Technologies Group in an effort to better compete with Nvidia.
The collaboration is a sign of recent development of both companies. On one hand, Intel states it’s new Embedded Multi-Die Interconnect Bridge (EMIB) technology which allows the heterogeneous CPU and GPU to coexist on a single package and communicate with each other at very high speed. It also helps make the manufacturing of such a chip easier. Intel also says that it has developed an advanced power-sharing framework that allows power to be delivered and balanced between the CPU, GPU and embedded graphics memory, which allows notebooks to be designed thinner and lighter, with simpler cooling requirements.
While according to AMD, it is treating the GPU as a semi-custom part, just like the Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro. The end product will be a “multi-chip processor package” with discrete dies on the same physical processor. It will use 3D-stacked HBM2 memory, making it the first such mobile implementation. According to AMD, HBM2 consumes less power and takes up less space than GDDR5.
The launch will improve both Intel and AMD’s fortunes in the market, however, neither company has offered any clue about what this means for both Intel’s own integrated graphics efforts, and AMD’s APUs. Intel’s 8th Generation chips announced over the past few months did not have any significant improvements to their graphics subsystems, indicating that little new work had taken place in-house. However, AMD announced its own mobile Ryzen chips with integrated Vega graphics just last week, and these will have to coexist with the new offering. Intel’s integrated graphics capabilities have lagged behind its competition for years, while on the other hand AMD’s weak CPUs before the Ryzen generation handicapped its ability to sell APUs. Hence, both companies used their strengths to create something extraordinary.
For users, this means thin and light laptops with far more graphics horsepower than before. The companies are promising high-end experiences with today’s AAA games and content creation programs. Small-form-factor desktops could also be on the cards. Nothing like this has been launched yet. It’s also unclear how this chip will be named, marketed and sold, but we hope the hype will meet peoples’ expectations.