How Intel Can Break the Duopoly in the GPU Space

How Intel Can Break the Duopoly in the GPU Space

The competition is surely heating up in the GPU space.

Many factors, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and surging demand from cryptocurrency miners, have caused a global Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) shortage. The bad news for the gaming market is that the crisis may last until next year. Last week, NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang said that he doesn’t expect the GPU shortage to resolve itself until well into 2022. “I would expect that we will see a supply constrained environment for the vast majority of next year is my guess at the moment,” said Huang.

AMD and Nvidia hold a duopoly in the global GPU market. Amidst the GPU crisis, American chip manufacturer Intel is now looking to lock horns with the two leading players. Last week, Intel announced a graphic division called Arc that will cover multiple generations, not just hardware but also software and services. “Alchemist” (previously known as DG2), the first generation of Intel Arc products, will be based on the Xe HPG (High-Performance Graphics) microarchitecture. The GPUs will arrive in the first quarter of 2022 in mobile and desktop form factors. The graphics card will feature hardware-based ray tracing and artificial intelligence-driven super sampling and DirectX 12 Ultimate.

“Today marks a key moment in the graphics journey we started just a few years ago. The launch of the Intel Arc brand and the reveal of future hardware generations signifies Intel’s deep and continued commitment to gamers and creators everywhere. We have teams doing incredible work to ensure we deliver first-class and frictionless experiences when these products are available early next year,” said Roger Chandler, Intel vice president and general manager of Client Graphics Products and Solutions, in a post.

Other than this, Intel also revealed the code names of future generations under the Arc brand: Battlemage, Celestial and Druid.

Breaking the Duopoly

Intel’s debut in the GPU market will be a breath of fresh air since Nvidia and AMD have dominated the GPU space for quite some time. The Arc series will take on Nvidia GeForce & AMD Radeon. The GPU sector also faces price volatility because companies cannot meet the high demand and supply shortage. Intel’s GPU debut might give a much-required third choice to PC gamers in terms of affordable pricing. However, Intel has not revealed any specifications or prices related to the ARC GPU.

Intel had previously dropped hints that it will soon make its dedicated graphic card. In 2017, Intel hired Raja Koduri as its chief architect. Koduri led AMD’s Radeon Technologies Group and oversaw the development of its Vega GPUs. The hiring announcement made it very clear that Intel is very serious about its GPU ambitions.

Later, at the Consumer Electronics Show 2020 (CES), Intel previewed its first discrete graphics card code named DG1, circulated only to developers. The same year, Intel also launched Iris Xe Max, a discrete GPU for notebooks. The Xe architecture has been used in several Intel Core CPUs for integrated GPUs.

Header image courtesy of Unsplash

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Nidhi Singh
A self-confessed Bollywood lover, travel junkie, and food evangelist. I like traveling and I believe it is essential to take your mind off the daily monotony. I’ll be reporting on stories from Asia's entrepreneurial ecosystem and can’t wait to get going!

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