After months of rumour-mongering, Intel has at long last come out and officially announced a deal with AMD to include Radeon Technologies Group semi-custom graphics chips on its Kaby Lake G-series CPUs.
The deal incorporates a discrete AMD Radeon GPU on a high-performance Intel CPU, including 4GB of onboard HBM memory. The result is an ultra-thin APU with fast compute performance and a low power draw. It’s all stitched together with a custom interconnect, a result of Intel's intent to move towards heterogeneous architecture.
AMD’s contribution is a custom Radeon GPU. We’ve only got leaked specs to go on, but it looks as if it’s got 24 CUs (Compute Units) with 1536 Stream Processors. It’s clocked at around 1.1GHz and offers roughly 3.3TFLOPs of compute power. That’s roughly the same compute performance as the base Xbox One and PS4 combined, from just a single CPU.
“Our collaboration with Intel expands the installed base for AMD Radeon GPUs and brings to market a differentiated solution for high-performance graphics,” said Scott Herkelman, vice president and general manager, AMD Radeon Technologies Group. “Together we are offering gamers and content creators the opportunity to have a thinner-and-lighter PC capable of delivering discrete performance-tier graphics experiences in AAA games and content creation applications. This new semi-custom GPU puts the performance and capabilities of Radeon graphics into the hands of an expanded set of enthusiasts who want the best visual experience possible.”
The first benchmarks have leaked for the Intel Core i7-8705G engineering sample have leaked, and the results are hugely impressive. In an Ashes of the Singularity benchmark at 1080p/High, the processor is pulling in an average frame rate of 33.5fps. It’s nowhere near what we expect from dedicated graphics cards these days but it’s still solid gaming performance and a tantalising glimpse at where this technology and partnership could go next.
This is a fascinating play from AMD, boosting the performance of Intel’s mobile processors just as it has its Ryzen Mobile APUs inbound. The upshot is that AMD could be making money from every CPU bought, regardless of whether it’s Intel or AMD.