There are very few people on the planet that can claim to be a co-inventor of DirectX, and Intel has just recruited one of them. What does this mean for the chip giant, its competitors and you, the humble user? KitGuru takes a moment to ponder the change.
The list of people who used to work for ATI, but who now work for Apple or Intel, continues to grow. The latest of these is Richard Huddy, former point man for ATI/AMD’s efforts to form stronger relations with the game developers themselves. Random phone calls to wish people ‘Merry Christmas’ ended up with a voicemail stating that ‘the man who can’ will now be doing it for the team in blue. Strange days indeed.
So how is Richard regarded in the community? Well, his work on the original Max Payne game was enough to get him a staring role as the mad professor in the lab, and since then, he’s had a positive role (directly or indirectly) to play in bringing a whole host of games to market, including Harry Potter, Just Cause, Battlefield 2 and Burnout Paradise. That’s not to mention pioneering the push for HDR with AA into a variety of games over the years.
Graphically, Intel’s challenges are clear.
The Larrabee experiment was not everything that Intel hoped for, the integrated graphics inside the Core processors are still not as strong as either the AMD on nVidia options – and Intel has no foothold whatsoever in either the console or handheld (tablet/smartphone) markets.
That said, word from inside Intel while KitGuru was at Computex in the summer, was very bullish.
Specifically, that Ivy Bridge would provide a small boost to Intel’s graphics aspirations – while the brand new Haswell architecture, due in 2013, will establish Intel as some kind of leader in the mass-market graphics space. Alongside this work in the 100%-graphics space, there is a lot of talk about the possibilities for Intel co-processors like Knight’s Ferry.
The killer, however, would be for Intel to get inside one of the consoles.
Consoles have longevity, and they don’t need to be the fastest/most capable product in the market. Just check the Wii, DS and iPad histories if you’re not sure what we mean. While Intel is unlikely (ever?) to be the company that launches a 7970 or GeForce 680, it CAN win in a fight to launch graphics that are ‘good enough’ into the mass market.
If the graphics game were to change to ‘whoever can put the most processing power into a square millimetre, driver teams to one side’, then Intel has every chance to dominate.
We’re not sure what Huddy’s exact role will be at Intel over the next few years (certainly, his LinkedIn profile had not been updated at the time of writing), but this has to be seen as a win for the world’s largest chip maker.
KitGuru says: The world + dog expected Huddy to rejoin AMD after a short hiatus, but it seems that AMD’s downsizing policy made that impossible. AMD must be hoping that this kind of decision doesn’t come back to bite them in the bum.
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