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Intel Corp., the world’s No. 1 producer of x86 microprocessors and chipsets, has virtually confirmed its intention to enter the business of high-end graphics processors for standalone add-in graphics adapters. The establishment of visual computing groups at Intel essentially backs up rumours about Intel’s come back to discrete graphics business.

A page over Intel Corp.’s web-site claims that the company is continuing to hire graphics engineers to create graphics technologies and also reveals that the world’s largest maker of chips has formed “Visual computing group” which “has the mission to establish the future of computing for high-throughput workloads”.

“We are focused on developing discrete graphics products based on a many-core architecture targeting high-end client platforms. Our vision is that the resulting ingredients and technology will extend to mobile clients, servers, and embedded platforms over time. VCG will initially focus on discrete graphics products but will also expand the previous charter to include developing plans for accelerated CPU integration,” Intel’s description of the newly formed group reads.

This is not the first time when Intel hires engineers to develop its own graphics processing units, but this is generally the first time when Intel directly says that its plans to create a discrete graphics product also have relation to integration of graphics processing capabilities into general-purpose microprocessors.

Even though the market of standalone graphics cards is doomed by game consoles, popularization of notebooks and integrated chipsets, its revenues are still about $5 billion a quarter, which is more than a significant amount of money even for Intel. Moreover, more advanced graphics technologies may allow Intel to sell its chips to makers of game consoles eventually, which are sold in quantities that may reach hundreds of millions.

Intel’s public relations representatives did not comment on the news-story.

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