What it is: Intel recently agreed to use AMD’s graphics processors combined with Intel processors.
Intel and AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) have been fierce competitors for decades. Intel defined the x86 processor market used in PCs and AMD typically competed by offering faster processors at a lower cost. That all changed when Intel finally started making processors that were better than AMD’s offerings. That forced AMD to settle for the low-end PC market with cheaper processors. Not surprisingly, AMD’s fortunes dipped while Intel’s fortunes soared.
Only recently has AMD finally created a processor ready to rival Intel’s processors, yet one area where Intel was consistently weak was in graphics. NVIDIA is the graphics processor leader with AMD forever playing second fiddle. Intel’s graphics processors are even worse and cannot compete against NVIDIA’s graphics processors. Instead, Intel graphics processors are usually combined with their main processors to form a low-cost solution for PCs. For any PC that needs better graphics, the answer has always been to buy a separate graphics processor made by NVIDIA or AMD.
Since Intel graphics processors have always been weak, they recently turned to AMD for a graphics processor. The idea is that instead of putting an Intel processor and a separate AMD graphics processor in a PC, you could simply combine both of them in one unit. This would save space and allow for more efficient power usage while also giving better graphics capabilities to rival NVIDIA’s separate graphics processors.
This means Intel can now sell combined Intel processors with integrated AMD graphics processors and offer comparable features to NVIDIA graphics processors. In the old days, games and graphics-intensive applications like CAD needed high-end PCs. Now graphics-intensive applications can be satisfied with mid-range PCs. Of course, for the best graphics capabilities, you’ll still want a separate graphics processor from NVIDIA or AMD, but now low-end and mid-range PCs now longer have to suffer form subpar graphics performance.
By themselves, Intel can’t compete against NVIDIA so they have to team up with AMD. This gives AMD future funding to compete against NVIDIA. Theo only loser here is NVIDIA.
In the future, expect the Macintosh to use these combined Intel/AMD units to save space, lower costs, use less energy, and provide decent graphics capabilities. Early next year when Apple announces new Macintosh models, don’t be surprised to find this Intel/AMD combination inside with graphics capabilities rivaling those of dedicated graphics processors.
Graphics are no longer optional but necessities. Faster graphics processors simply means a more responsive user experience, and that will help everyone whether they use a Windows PC or a Macintosh.