Just a few days back Intel announced that it will be partnering with long time rival AMD to build a new self-sufficient (graphic wise) mobile processor. Now, Intel has followed that astonishing reveal with an even bigger one. The company has announced that AMD’s chief GPU architect, Raja Koduri who was on a sabbatical for quite some time will now head the newly formed Core and Visual Computing group, as a senior VP. According to Intel he will be overseeing Intel’s own discrete GPU solutions for a “range of computing segments”, including emerging categories like edge computing.
With this hire, Intel has rekindled its efforts once again to make a discrete GPU to give NVIDIA some competition in both the consumer as well commercial space. NVIDIA is now one of the leading voices in parallel computing, thanks to its efficient and powerful CUDA core architecture. NVIDIA also has an arsenal of profitable consumer products, which are still a leap or two ahead of the competition (AMD). With Koduri onboard, Intel may develop a complete stack of discrete GPU architecture for the consumers as the company has already stated that he will be working of high-end discrete graphics solutions.
On the other hand AMD, which is still lagging behind NVIDIA at the moment in a very tough position as its only leverage over Intel was its graphical prowess. That being said, it is too early to brush aside what AMD has to offer in the coming months and years. The Vega architecture which has yet to prove itself has quite the potential, even though it is not as popular in the consumer space.
This new chain of events also signal a change in Intel’s strategy to pursue only iGPUs (integrated Graphics Processor Units). This isn't Intel’s first step towards making discrete GPUs. The company initially tried its hand on the same in the late 90s with the i740 and later in late 2000s with the Larbee project, but both were shelved. The Larbee project which was a parallel compute technology, was then transformed into the Xeon Phi family and its DNA has been carried forward by newer Xeon’s since.
Raja Koduri who has more than 25 years of experience in the GPU space is a leading figure in the PC industry. In his tenure at Apple, his efforts led to the transition to Retina computer displays. Prior to Intel, Raja has also worked with AMD twice offering his expertise on discrete GPUs and APUs to AMD’s RTG (Radeon Technologies Group) division.