Intel Teams with AMD on Latest Core Processors

Posted on November 6, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware, Windows 10 with 25 Comments

Over the past few months, Intel has rolled out its latest Core processors on both mobile and desktop PCs. But there was one piece missing: Discrete graphics. And this week, Intel is addressing that need.

“We recognized an opportunity: thinner, lighter, more powerful enthusiast mobile platforms that deliver a premium experience,” Intel’s Christopher Walker explains.

That is, until now, you’ve basically had to make a choice when it came to portable PCs. You could go thin and light using the Intel Core U-series processors. Or you could choose performance with the Intel H-series processors and a dGPU. Those latter systems tended to be much thicker and bulkier than their U-series counterparts.

So this new initiative, which is yet another part of what Intel is calling its 8th generation Core processor family, combines a high-performance H-series Core processor with second-generation High Bandwidth Memory (HBM2) and a custom AMD Radeon discrete graphics chip, all in a single processor package.

The result should be portable PCs that are both thin and light and powerful.

But the real story here, of course, is Intel’s collaboration with AMD, one of its biggest CPU competitors. Is Intel really working with its competition?

Yes. Yes, they are.

“We worked with the team at AMD’s Radeon Technologies Group,” Walker writes. “In close collaboration, we designed a new semi-custom graphics chip, which means this is also a great example of how we can compete and work together, ultimately delivering innovation that is good for consumers.”

“Together we are offering gamers and content creators the opportunity to have a thinner-and-lighter PC capable of delivering discrete performance-tier graphics experiences in AAA games and content creation applications,” AMD president Scott Herkelman adds. “This new semi-custom GPU puts the performance and capabilities of Radeon graphics into the hands of an expanded set of enthusiasts who want the best visual experience possible.”

New PCs that use this chipset will arrive from major PC makers in early 2018, Intel says. So we can expect CES launches, I bet.


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Comments (25)

25 responses to “Intel Teams with AMD on Latest Core Processors”

  1. ChristopherCollins

    This is a very smart move... I am guessing that they are both worried about ARM, so they will work together. I often wondered why Apple & Microsoft didn't gang up on Google with some things and work together. I realize Apple gets a great deal of money from Google each year, but Bing could have gotten better much faster if it had been the Safari search engine on iPhone from it's inception.

    • crfonseca

      In reply to ChristopherCollins:

      While Steve Jobs saw Google as the n. 1 enemy, these days I don't think that Apple sees them as competitors, they've completely gone back to their roots as an hardware company, and they're making a ton of money doing it, that Google really isn't a threat.

      It also helps that Google is all in on its anti-MS path that they don't really have to worry about them any time soon.

  2. rameshthanikodi

    this is crazy - you'd think Intel and Nvidia would work together on something like this. Intel is clearly spooked by AMD's upcoming mobile Zen APUs with Vega graphics integrated that absolutely crush Intel's integrated graphics.

  3. kjb434

    This is awesome. AMD is hungry enough that many manufacturers would prefer their graphics than NVIDIA. With Intel coordinating, pretty much pushes NVIDIA out of the laptop game.

  4. WaltC

    AMD has always dominated Intel on the GPU side of the fence, and still does. I think it's only natural that Intel turn to AMD for advice and expertise on how build a better GPU--since Intel has nothing the equivalent of Vega, and likely never will. AMD also has gobs of experience with HBM/2 which Intel is lacking (and nVidia.) Interesting times. People forget that today Intel is highly diversified, whereas AMD is still pretty much 100% tech & chip driven. People will soon be forgetting that they ever underestimated AMD, imo.

    For those who are wondering--AMD keeps its most advanced tech for itself, of course, and will be offering similar, but better, products of this kind than Intel, most likely.

  5. Ingiomar Martina

    This was the one advantage that AMD had over Intel.

    Why would they just throw that away?

    • Chris

      In reply to Ingi0m4rx:

      I don't believe they have thrown anything away. If anything, they may be getting licensing fees from Intel for this setup, which would give AMD some more cash, which is a good thing.

      • WaltC

        In reply to c.hucklebridge:

        What AMD and Intel have done in the past is cross-license with each other, which they will probably do now. For instance, the x86-64 standard at the root of Core 2 and derivatives came directly from AMD--while I don't know what AMD got out of that deal, in particular, I'm sure it was something of value to them.

        AMD is running in the black now and is likely to stay there because they have no intention of dropping the ball like the previous managers at AMD did immediately post the A64. Their newest and most powerful server products are coming out soon and will be competing directly with Intel's in Intel's most lucrative markets.

  6. madthinus

    The idea is as old as a pentium 2 design. There are a lot of upsides to this. Beter thermal, less complicated chips, better yields, all wins. AMD is a natural fit. Despite the dust ups over the years, they have licensed and cross licensed each other tech for many years. Good to see both innovating.

  7. euskalzabe

    Notice this: 1 month before Windows on ARM devices are said to deliver 2 days of battery life and x86 emulation when needed, we've seen Intel 1) double the mobile CPU performance with twice the cores and 2) release products with AMD GPUs (!!!). I see more and more signs that Intel is reacting before ARM releases to ensure it has more quality for more price, because as things stood for the past few years, they would not have been an attractive option VS ARM.

  8. Waethorn

    The drivers are being made by Intel, so don't expect good game support.

    Also INTERSTITIAL ADS SUCK. Petri is as bad as Penton was.

    • bluvg

      In reply to Waethorn:

      But maybe these drivers will be stable? That's my #1 gripe with AMD/ATI. Would have preferred a partnership with nVidia....

      • Waethorn

        In reply to bluvg:

        NVIDIA doesn't license anything except SLI, and even that's not emphasised much anymore. NVIDIA is downright hostile to open-source as well, while AMD is not.

      • Chris

        In reply to bluvg:

        I'm guessing they may have tried that path and found that Nvidia's terms weren't quite what they were looking for, whereas AMD seems to be far more agreeable, especially since Intel and AMD have the whole cross-licensing thing going on (Intel owns the x86 instructions, while AMD owns the x64 extensions).

        Regarding the AMD drivers, I've had little trouble with them, apart from this weird colour flicking thing I've got going on whenever I alt-tab out of fullscreen games, or move my mouse away from WoW (which I run as windowed fullscreen). The issue with that is it could be the newer drivers, or my aging video card (an R9 270X), but since Windows 10 1709 is updating my video drivers again, trying to rollback to an older version may be pointless.

  9. dougkinzinger

    It sounds like just a continuation of the work Intel did with ATI before AMD bought them. HP and others sold PCs with integrated ATI graphics featuring an Intel proc in the early 2000's.

    • Waethorn

      In reply to dougkinzinger:

      Intel also included PowerVR graphics in some of their first SoC's too.

    • Chris

      In reply to dougkinzinger:

      That sort of intergration was different to this sort. Back then, OEMs like HP, Compaq, Packard Bell, etc use to integrate graphics chips onto the motherboard of PCs. I used to have an MSI built motherboard from an old Packard Bell PC that had an Intel Pentium 3 slot 1 CPU, and integrated 3dfx Voodoo 3 graphics. If you look up the MS-6168, the fan on the motherboard covers the 3dfx chip.

      The sort of integration that Intel and AMD are working on now is an on-CPU integration.

    • bluvg

      In reply to dougkinzinger:

      But... that was ATI, like you said. And Intel didn't have an integrated offering at that time?

  10. Roger Ramjet

    So back up the hill on the AMD rollercoaster, really wild. They had this secret "customer" flagged for a while that was supposed to be revealed in 2018, there were then rumors they were going to announce a deal with Intel like 3+ months back, but AMD came out and flatly denied it, saying they would never work with a competitor, but clearly this is something's they have been working on very long time.

  11. Martin Pelletier

    Intel want to compete in the console market. I think Intel see AMD APU's not a bad idea. I know it's not the same thing but I guess Intel see value in the APU space.

  12. SRLRacing

    My understanding is Radeon Technologies Group is an entirely separate company (still owned by AMD) and operates quite clear of AMD's core business for reasons such as this. Its funny I read an interview a little while back where they were touting a third large semi-custom customer (the other two being Sony for the PS4 and Microsoft for the Xbox) and people were wondering who it could be.

  13. John Scott

    Mixed feelings on this collaboration for me. If I want better graphics I prefer a choice over it being matched to a Intel chipset. Although the advantage could be better performance per watt in the long run. I will be interested to see what comes out of this. Also why a chief engineer (Raja Koduri) just recently left the AMD graphics arm of AMD? Could this be a rejection of this cozy agreement with Intel?