Even though Intel Corp. commanded 49.4% of graphics adapters shipments in the third quarter of the year, the company does not see that integrated graphics processors (IGPs) will be able to substitute discrete graphics processing units (GPUs) in future. As a result, the company has no plans to address performance-demanding markets with IGPs, but is rather enthusiastic about exotic graphics technologies that could address those markets
“Graphics are being integrated into the processor in the a future Nehalem processor – but I can’t see the need for discrete graphics cards going away any times soon for those who demand the best 3D performance,” said Nick Knupffer, an Intel’s spokesperson for all graphics technologies in an interview with X-bit labs web-site.
When asked whether it would make sense for Intel to introduce a chipset with built-in graphics core tailored on the software and hardware level for professional applications (a rival for Nvidia’s Quadro FX 470 IGP), Mr. Knupffer said that such a product would be hardly in demand and Intel was unlikely to address that market unless the demand towards such solutions emerges because IGPs will get much more powerful.
“CAD users tend to need huge 3D capabilities in their hardware – they will likely use discrete cards. […] [The creation of IGPs targeting professional market segment] is not our primary design target, but we are always assessing opportunities in new market segments,” said the representative for Intel.
Besides low price, integrated chipsets have another advantage: lower power consumption versus a combination of typical core-logic and a GPU. The indisputable benefit of a standalone graphics chip is considerably higher performance in graphics intensive applications. Many consumers would gladly enjoy both of both worlds and one of the ways to do so is to rely on external graphics card that can be plugged to a small form-factor or mobile computer when it is needed.
“Potentially, [external graphics card] is a terrific idea. Imagine being on the go using integrated graphics, benefiting from excellent battery life and small form factor – then coming home and plugging your high performance laptop into an external card and getting its full hardcore 3D gaming benefits. I think quite a lot of mobile power users would like this scenario – especially when coupled with a mobile Intel Core 2 Extreme processor,” said Mr. Knupffer.
In the interview with X-bit labs Nick Knupffer discussed various things about the graphics chip industry and business as well as Intel’s future discrete graphics processing units.