Graphics Business Today
X-bit labs: Will and how the global economic crisis may impact Intel’s launch of Larrabee product and its graphics cards business?
Nick Knupffer: We are investing for the future. We have been through many cycles before and the one thing we have learned is you cannot save your way out of a downturn.
X-bit labs: How do you think the global economic slump will affect further development of the market? Do you expect integrated graphics processors to become dramatically more popular than relatively expensive discrete products?
Nick Knupffer: When things get difficult, people go to the Internet to save money, to play games and enjoy entertainment in the home, to conduct business, and connect with friends. We believe people want to buy the best products in this environment, and that they will want the best products when the cycle ends. The PC and access to the Internet has become indispensable. Intel is a key ingredient, and we feel we will emerge from this cycle stronger than ever because of that.
Intel mainboard based on Intel G45 chipset.
Believe it or not, but Intel’s IGPs powered 49.4% of PCs
sold globally in Q3 2008, according to JPR.
X-bit labs: If the market shifts towards entry-level or mainstream graphics processing units and existing players make those chips much more powerful than today, do you think that this will pose a threat to Intel’s integrated graphics processors (IGPs)?
Nick Knupffer: Integrated graphics are suitable for many things, I use our G45 chipset in my home media-centre PC – it works great for DVD or Blu-Ray – IGP is also great for laptops if you value battery life. If you are a hardcore gamer – you will probably want to spend a little more on your graphics than the cost of a cup of Starbucks; integrated graphics really is really good value. However - we believe that there is a market for powerful discrete graphics cards, hence why we are working on Larrabee.
X-bit labs: Does Intel plan to reduce graphics research and development (R&D) spending because of the economic crisis?
Nick Knupffer: As I said before – We are investing for the future. We have been through many cycles before and the one thing we have learned is you cannot save your way out of a downturn.
X-bit labs: The market of discrete desktop graphics cards has been very stable in the recent years and with several exceptions TAM (total available market) was in the range of 20 – 22 million units per quarter (according to Jon Peddie Research). Do you think it will stay on than level, or will increase or decrease? Do you think it is possible for Intel to be really competitive against ATI and Nvidia on this market?
Nick Knupffer: Hehehe, I think this is a good question for Jon Peddie. ;-)
X-bit labs: Do you think it is possible for Intel to be really competitive against ATI and Nvidia on this market that is very stable in terms of TAM (which means that it is not really growing)?
Nick Knupffer: One thing that is growing is the programmability demands on those GPUs is growing with each generation of graphics API and game Engine. Larrabee cuts to the chase bringing complete programmability and developer freedom instead of incremental improvements in programmability. If if you look at the Siggraph paper we published – you will see that the Larrabee architecture does have the capability of delivering quite a lot of computing power.
X-bit labs: Unlike the TAM, average selling price (ASP) of a graphics card has been fluctuating dramatically in the recent years. Do you think that it makes sense for Intel to enter this market as the ASPs are changing dramatically from quarter to quarter?
Nick Knupffer: I can’t answer this – A 3rd party analyst opinion is probably your best bet.