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For decades, Intel and AMD have remained bitter archrivals. Today, they find themselves teaming up to thwart a common enemy – Nvidia.

As Intel revealed its partnership with Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) over a next-generation notebook chip, it was the first time the two chip giants collaborated since the ‘80s. The proposed chip for thin and lightweight laptops combines an Intel processor and an AMD graphics unit for complex video gaming. The new series of processors will be part of Intel’s 8th-generation Core H-series mobile chips, expected to hit the market in the first quarter of 2018.

What it means is that Intel’s high-performance x86 cores will get combined with AMD Radeon Graphics into the same processor package using Intel’s EMIB multi-die technology. That is not all. Intel is also bundling the design with built-in High Bandwidth Memory (HBM2) RAM.

The new processor, Intel claims, reduces the usual silicon footprint by about 50%. And with a ‘semi-custom’ graphics processor from AMD, enthusiasts can look forward to discrete graphics-level performances for playing games, editing photos or videos, and other tasks that can leverage modern GPU technologies.

What does AMD get? Having struggled to remain profitable in recent times, AMD has been losing share in the discrete notebook GPU market. The deal could bring additional revenues with increased market share. Most importantly, the laptops built with the new processors won’t be competing with AMD’s Ryzen chips (which are also designed for ultrathin laptops). AMD clarified on the difference: While the new Intel chips are designed for serious gamers, Ryzen chips (that are due out at the end of the year) can run games but are not specifically designed for that purpose.

“Our collaboration with Intel expands the installed base for AMD Radeon GPUs and brings to market a differentiated solution for high-performance graphics,” Scott Herkelman, vice president and general manager of AMD’s Radeon Technologies Group, said. “Together we are offering gamers and content creators the opportunity to have a thinner-and-lighter PC capable of delivering discrete performance-tier graphics experiences in AAA games and content creation applications.”

While more information will be available in future, the first machines with the new technology are expected to release in the first quarter of 2018.

Nvidia’s stock fell on the news. While both AMD and Intel saw their shares surging. A rivalry that began when AMD reverse-engineered the Intel 8080 microchip in 1975 could still be far from over, but in graphics, the two have been rather cordial. Despite hating each other since formation, both decided to pick each other as lesser evil over Nvidia. This is why the Intel AMD laptop chip partnership has a definite future. Currently centered around laptop solutions, this could even stretch to desktops, who knows!

Writes and reports on lnformation Technology. Full stack on artificial intelligence, data science, and music.


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