Ex-Intel Director: ATI and Nvidia Will Both Lose Market Share to Intel Larrabee

Pentium Pro Architecture Manager Is Optimistic About Larrabee, Pessimistic About AMD

by Anton Shilov
06/03/2009 | 03:12 PM

A former director of the microprocessor research labs at Intel Corp., Fred Pollack, said in an interview that once Intel launches its highly-anticipated code-named Larrabee graphics processing unit (GPU) in early 2010, ATI, graphics business unit of Advanced Micro Devices, and Nvidia Corp. will start to lose market share on the market of discrete GPUs.


At present Intel commands the lion’s share of graphics adapters market thanks to its graphics cores integrated into its core-logic sets. ATI and Nvidia share the highly-competitive market of standalone graphics cards where every percent of additional performance matters. But while Intel has not disclosed any performance figures for its Larrabee, it seems that Mr. Pollack, who used to be the architecture manager for the Pentium Pro central processing unit (CPU) from mid-1990 to mid-1992, seems to be confident in the success of Larrabee.

“In graphics, AMD/ATI and Nvidia already have a tough competitive landscape. A third player [Intel] coming in will make the rivalry even tougher. There will be a transition in the graphics market in 2010 and 2011, and both AMD and Nvidia will lose market share to Intel,” said Fred Pollack during a technology conference organized by Primary Global Research, an investment research firm, reports EE Times web-site.

It is unclear whether the former director of Intel’s microprocessor research labs has seen some insights regarding performance, capabilities and other characteristics of Larrabee, but the claim seems to be rather optimistic for Intel.

In fact, Mr. Pollack seems to be quite pessimistic regarding AMD in general: even though many compare Intel’s current Nehalem micro-architecture to AMD’s platform introduced in 2003, the ex-director of Intel claims that the world’s second largest x86 chip supplier is “more than one generation behind” in terms of CPU design.

“Traditionally, AMD has been profitable when it has a CPU advantage against Intel. That is not currently the case. AMD is more than one generation behind Intel in CPU architecture and one-plus year away in 32nm process technology,” the Intel veteran explained.

Nevertheless, Mr. Pollack admits that the industry needs at least two strong suppliers of x86 CPUs so that to keep competition going.

“It's in everyone's interest to keep AMD going because each participant in the PC supply chain, including OEMs, Microsoft and even Intel, want to keep competition alive. Given the level of antitrust focus on Intel, it would seem to be in Intel's interest to have AMD around,” claimed Mr. Pollack.