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Intel to Release Discrete Graphics Card In 2020, GPUs For Desktop Gaming Coming Too

Intel announced that it would develop its own discrete graphics cards late last year when it hired ex-AMDer Raja Koduri to head up its new Core and Visual Computing Group. Now Intel has divulged, via Twitter, that the company will bring a discrete graphics card to market in 2020.

Ryan Shrout, via MarketWatch, broke the news this morning when he reported that Intel CEO Brian Krzanich had told analysts at a private investor event that the discrete GPU would arrive in 2020. Shrout also reported that Navin Shenoy, Intel's executive vice president of the data center group, confirmed that the new discrete GPUs would target both the data center and consumer applications, like gaming and professional development.

Intel tweeted out the announcement confirming the 2020 launch date shortly after that. The company confirmed to us over email that it will offer solutions for both the data center and client markets, meaning graphics cards for desktop PCs, but it would not specify which version will come to market first.

Intel's admission that it would target the desktop PC market isn't entirely surprising. Much like Nvidia does with its GPUs and Intel already does with its desktop CPUs, sales to the broader desktop PC market drive up production volume and build the economy of scale that lowers costs. In turn, that assures low pricing and high margins on GPUs designed for the data center.

Intel's re-entry into the discrete graphics card market came as shocking news earlier this year because Nvidia and AMD have been the primary two discrete GPU producers for the last 20 years. Intel has made two prior attempts to bring a discrete gaming GPU to market, but it eventually shuttered both programs.

This time around, Intel is bolstering its ranks with proven talent. Jim Keller recently joined Intel to head up its silicon engineering group, and Chris Hook, Intel's first dedicated marketer for discrete graphics cards, also recently joined the blue team.

The new effort is apparently well underway, and given the typical four-year development period for new chips, the initiative likely began before Koduri joined the company. As we noted earlier this year, Intel's announcement that it's building a discrete GPU is tantamount to an open declaration of war on Nvidia. It wouldn't make sense for Intel to telegraph its intentions to its rivals several years before a product comes to market, so the company was likely already far along in development. Intel could already have a new graphics architecture in the hopper, or it's possible the new GPU is just a scaled-up iteration of its existing iGPU technology.

Intel's hardware is only part of the equation, though. The company has a reputation for a slow cadence of graphics driver and software releases, which often means the company doesn't have day-zero drivers ready for big game launches. Lately, the company has begun to speed up the cadence of its driver releases, so it appears to be ramping up its efforts.

Intel still has a lot of work to do on the enablement front, such as recruiting AIB partners, but it is possible the company will produce the new cards natively. Given the current timeline of a 2020 release, it's also safe to assume that the new graphics cards will come wielding the 10nm+ process. That would place the company on a firmer footing against AMD's new 7nm GPUs and the as-yet-undisclosed manufacturing process that Nvidia will use for its next-generation cards.

AMD has been busy reorganizing its GPU team in the wake of Koduri's exit and has promised to return to releasing a new gaming graphics card on a yearly cadence.

Meanwhile, the high-end graphics space has been eerily silent as we await Nvidia's seemingly overdue release of its new high-end graphics cards. Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang recently informed us that the company will release its new GPUs "a long time from now," which dashes our hopes for the near term.

In any case, the graphics card market is sure to heat up in the coming years, so we will likely see more innovation and faster release cadences as Intel attempts to carve out its own spot in the lucrative sector. 

  • Math Geek
    cool. 3 players makes the game even that much more interesting and of course beneficial to the consumer who gets lots of extra choices :)
    Reply
  • JamesSneed
    I so hope Intel does this justice on this attempt to get into this market. Finally a real 3rd competitor. This should hopefully get prices back in check and stop all these silly shenanigans like partner programs or proprietary solutions.
    Reply
  • george.fontano
    I think what Intel needs to get their act together more than they need to go into the discrete GPU market. If they can compete, good. Very risky move though.
    Reply
  • Martell1977
    Intel's driver support should be interesting. I haven't been impressed with their drivers so far, so expectations are low.

    Other than that, they have a lot of catching up to do. Not sure grabbing the marketing guy from AMD was a good move, he has a history of over-hyping bigly.
    Reply
  • someone-crazy
    More like Intel is going to copy AMD's gpu technology. 1st buy gpus for their kabby lake G product with a hidden clause somewhere, hire AMD's engineers to help reverse engineer the design and tweak it so they can call it their own design. Follow up by crippling other vendor GPUs on Intel CPU hardware.
    Reply
  • PaulAlcorn
    21051597 said:
    More like Intel is going to copy AMD's gpu technology. 1st buy gpus for their kabby lake G product with a hidden clause somewhere, hire AMD's engineers to help reverse engineer the design and tweak it so they can call it their own design. Follow up by crippling other vendor GPUs on Intel CPU hardware.

    Food for thought -- It is notable that Intel has a well-stocked warchest of graphics IP. In fact, at one time they had more graphics patents than both AMD and Nvidia, though I'm not sure if that statistic still holds true. Intel is still the largest supplier of graphics chips in the world, largely due to its integrated graphics on its chips, so they do have a solid base of knowledge. Also, the UHD Graphics architecture is inherently scalable by design, so many opine this will just be a scaled-up version of its forthcoming Gen 11 (.5?) graphics engine.
    Reply
  • COLGeek
    Back in the day, Intel actually produced discrete video cards. I had one (around 1997/1998). I hope, by today's standards, that whatever they produce is better than the previous attempt.
    Reply
  • cryoburner
    21051384 said:
    Intel announced that the company will bring a discrete graphics card to market in 2020.
    Intel has also announced that they will have 10nm CPUs by 2015, and 7nm by 2017. : D

    21051384 said:
    Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang recently informed us that the company will release its new GPUs "a long time from now," which dashes our hopes for the near term.
    Keep in mind that "a long time from now" is a pretty vague time frame. The CEO obviously doesn't want to hurt sales of current cards, and you can be sure that he's not going to break news of their next generation of cards in some quick interview with a tech news site. According to unofficial sources, it sounds like they intend to start launching their next generation of cards within the next couple months or so.
    Reply
  • littleleo
    I remember the last Intel GPUs I think they were called the 740s and they were terrible. After a few tried them and realized they were very limited they were dropped like a hot potato. Expensive and slow and very poor driver support, if not worse than ATI's back then.
    Reply
  • Math Geek
    keep in mind that they can do like AMD has done and not bother trying to be the fastest out there. mid-range is where the bulk of sales is and starting small with low to mid-range cards would still be worthwhile if they can compete.
    Reply