When AMD Radeon’s former head honcho, Raja Koduri, jumped ship to Intel last year, it was evident Intel was taking its newfound interest in graphics cards seriously. It now turns out that Koduri has allegedly steered Intel away from dedicated workstation GPUs and towards gaming graphics cards in order to “enter the market with a bang”.
According to Motley Fool analyst Ashraf Eassa, Intel’s first dedicated GPU is codenamed ‘Arctic Sound’. The original plan was to target Intel’s next-gen graphics card at video streaming apps in data centres, but thanks to Koduri, Intel now plans to split the GPU into two variants - a video streaming GPU and a dedicated gaming graphics card to compete with the likes of Nvidia and AMD.
While it’s early days, it’s looking as if we’ll be getting two distinct versions of Intel’s Arctic Sound graphics processor. One looks as if it will be an integrated chip package, potentially a multi-chip module like we saw with the Intel Core i7-8809G. The other, however, will be a standalone GPU designed for consumer graphics cards. It seems Intel’s partnership with AMD for integrating Vega graphics using its embedded multi-chip die interconnect bridge (EMIB) may be over before it's barely begun.
Arctic Sound is set to be the first discrete GPU from Intel in over 20 years, and it sounds as if it’s getting increasingly serious about competing with Team Red and Team Green in a three-way battle. Unfortunately, despite Intel making seemingly rapid progress, we’ve still got a while to go until we’ll actually see the first gaming GPU from Intel. A launch in 2020 for Arctic Sound is being targeted by Intel in a move which could prove incredibly disruptive to the graphics hardware industry.
Following on from Arctic Sound, Jupiter Sound is touted as the follow-up GPU, but this will, of course, be even further afield.
It's going to be interesting to see how, and if, Intel can compete with AMD and Nvidia. The current dominance forces in graphics cards have decades of experience between them, along with all the manufacturing and technological know-how. Intel has the financial clout to compete, but it's effectively working from a standing start. Koduri's knowledge is going to be absolutely key here if Intel wants to make the big splash its after.