Intel world headquarters

Intel confirms plans to manufacture standalone graphics cards

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The chip giant has confirmed that it will begin selling its own discrete graphics processing units (GPUs) by 2020.

A GPU (also known as a graphics card) is a circuit designed for the rapid manipulation of memory, enabling the creation of high-resolution images for display. GPUs are used extensively by gamers and more recently by cryptocurrency miners, due to their capability to process huge amounts of data efficiently.

Over the past year, there have been reports of overwhelming demand for GPUs as cryptocurrency miners buy bundles of the chips en masse, leading to price hikes and shortages. In January 2018, Nvidia suggested that retailers of GPUs should limit purchases to two GPUs per customer in order to protect gamers.

While Intel already manufactures its own GPUs, these are integrated into their conventional chips rather than being standalone units.

By setting out to manufacture discrete units, Intel will be competing with the Nvidia (which produces the GeForce GPUs) and AMD (which produces the Radeon product line). Both Nvidia and AMD have well-established reputations in the gaming community for their high performance GPUs which are capable of rendering detailed 3D objects, such as those packing the background of a computationally expensive game.

In November 2017 when it was reported that Intel had appointed Raja Koduri – chief architect for AMD’s Radeon line – there was speculation that the chip giant was planning its move into the GPU market. Koduri was appointed to the position of senior vice-president for the new Core and Visual Computing Group.

Intel has now confirmed via Twitter that its first discrete GPU will be coming in 2020, and posted a link to its months-old press release announcing Koduri’s appointment. Few details are known about what products Intel intends to offer.

Last week, the chip giant went head-to-head with rival AMD when Intel demonstrated a 28-core 5GHz processor at Computex 2018 in Taipei, Taiwan. The demonstration occurred just one day ahead of AMD’s long-planned unveiling of its 32-core processor at the same event (a product due for launch in August).

It was later revealed that the Intel prototype was overclocked and required an elaborate cooling system in order to run at 5GHz across all 28 cores.

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