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Intel’s discrete GPU development is already under way

Last year, the graphics industry had a major shakeup. Not only did Intel announce a collaboration chip with AMD’s Radeon Technologies Group, but the blue team also hired AMD’s GPU head, Raja Koduri, who will be taking the reins and helping Intel break into the discrete GPU market. Since then, things have been somewhat quiet, but this week that changed with some discrete GPU prototype details making their way onto the web.

Recently, Intel was at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in California. While there, they presented a research paper with proof of concept designs. Japanese site, PCWatch, managed to get hold of the images shown, which depict a discrete graphics version of Intel’s 9th Gen iGPU architecture built on the 14nm process with 1.5 billion transistors. This is by no means a future discrete GPU product, as Intel has confirmed in a statement, but the folks at Intel are currently using the Gen 9 GPU architecture as a proof of concept for different circuit techniques that improve power and performance.

Images via PCWatch

The GPU shown has two chips, the first houses the main GPU and a system agent, while the second has a field programmable gate array (FPGA) that handles the PCI bridge and bus interface. Since this presentation was mainly in place to demonstrate circuit techniques, it does not include information like VRAM, Stream Processors or Compute Units.

These are still early days, Intel won’t be launching a high-grade discrete graphics card any time soon, but work is certainly already under way.

KitGuru Says: Building a GPU from scratch is no small feat, so while it is exciting to see an update in this direction, there is not much to take away from this. The gears are turning behind the scenes but it will be quite some time before we see something ready for the spotlight.

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