Raja Koduri Leaves Intel to Found AI Gaming Software Start-Up

Raja Koduri

(Image credit: Intel)

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger announced on Twitter today that Raja Koduri, the company's current Chief Architect, is leaving the company to found a generative AI gaming software startup. Koduri's exit comes five years after he joined the company in November 2017 and on the heels of a restructuring of Intel's AXG graphics unit that was announced at the end of last year. 

Koduri had assumed his position as leader of AXG last year but stepped back to be a Chief Architect after the restructuring, returning him to a position he originally held when he arrived at Intel in 2017 after a five-year stint at AMD. 

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"Thank you @RajaXg for your many contributions to Intel tech & architecture-especially w/high-performance graphics that helped bring 3 new product lines to market in ‘22. Wishing you success as you create a new software co. around generative AI for gaming, media & entertainment," Gelsinger posted on Twitter. 

Raja Koduri responded, thanking Gelsinger and Intel for his time at the company. Koduri also promised to share more details about his newest adventure in the coming weeks. 

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Intel has already restructured the graphics unit, so the company tells us there are no pending organizational changes due to Koduri's exit. Intel's Jeff McVeigh will continue to serve in his current role as the interim leader of the AXG team as Intel searches for a permanent leader.

Jim Keller and Raja Koduri

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Koduri joined Intel in the same time frame as fellow ex-AMD'er Jim Keller. In tandem with Keller and Murthy Renduchintala, Koduri helped design and align Intel's silicon portfolio under a new six pillar strategy that played to the strengths of the company's IP. Unfortunately, that initiative lost steam after Keller, and then Renduchintala left the company in 2020 in the wake of the delays around the company's 7nm process node.

Intel Xe LP

(Image credit: Intel)

Koduri soldiered on as the head of the Architecture, Software, and Graphics group, eventually receiving a promotion to the position of Executive Vice President in April 2022.

During his tenure, Koduri helmed the creation and launch of Intel's Arc graphics cards and Ponte Vecchio GPUs. He was also responsible for developing Intel's first Bitcoin-mining 'Blockscale' ASICs that are currently shipping. On the one hand, considering it was the first major company in 25 years to enter the space, Intel's entry into the discrete GPU market has been mostly successful. However, Intel's long-awaited Ponte Vecchio arrived late, and the company recently decided to axe its Rialto Bridge successor.

Meanwhile, the Intel Arc graphics cards for the desktop PC also arrived late, putting them in a less favorable position relative to competing AMD and Nvidia GPUs. Intel has steadily dropped pricing while improving drivers and performance after the launch, efforts that will now carry on in Koduri's absence.

Koduri has completed a four-year stretch at Apple, two stints at AMD totaling roughly 13 years, and five and a half years at Intel. He is now off to found a generative AI startup. We'll be sure to have coverage when we learn more details about his newest venture. 

Paul Alcorn
Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech

Paul Alcorn is the Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech for Tom's Hardware US. He also writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage, and enterprise hardware.

  • Darkbreeze
    Probably more like "Raja Koduri leaves Intel because Intel, much like AMD, realizes he ran their program into the ground."
    Reply
  • Howardohyea
    this is surprising and definitely breaking, I’m curious on what would Intel achieve without him, and they better fix most, if not all, bugs by Battlemage or this is really going to turn into a billion dollar sinkhole.

    Same applies to their CPU division, if nothing good comes out of it the whole company is going to have a rough journey.
    Reply
  • Darkbreeze
    No. It's probably the best move Intel could make. AMD learned their lesson a long time ago. His input and guidance have never resulted in either of these companies being successful in any department in which he was a part of.
    Reply
  • renz496
    so intel are preparing to fully pull away from discrete GPU market.
    Reply
  • JarredWaltonGPU
    renz496 said:
    so intel are preparing to fully pull away from discrete GPU market.
    I doubt it. Well, that still could happen, but Arc was late, Ponte Vecchio is late, Intel 7nm (aka Intel 4) is late. Raja isn't to blame for the process delays, but the execution of the graphics portfolio was lacking. How much of it was he directly responsible for, and how much of it was done by other people under his direction? There's very little that couldn't be done with other people in place instead of Raja. One man's vision doesn't a success make, but if it's the wrong vision it can certainly result in failure.
    Reply
  • RichardtST
    AMD has gone on to prosper without him. Perhaps now Intel will too.

    I wouldn't worry about the GPU market. Intel has that locked down now since NGreedia will not stoop so low as the <$500 GPU market. Intel has a chance to make some money here. I think this is them jumping on that chance.
    Reply
  • renz496
    JarredWaltonGPU said:
    I doubt it. Well, that still could happen, but Arc was late, Ponte Vecchio is late, Intel 7nm (aka Intel 4) is late. Raja isn't to blame for the process delays, but the execution of the graphics portfolio was lacking. How much of it was he directly responsible for, and how much of it was done by other people under his direction? There's very little that couldn't be done with other people in place instead of Raja. One man's vision doesn't a success make, but if it's the wrong vision it can certainly result in failure.

    i think battlemage will be the indicator intel will look at if they want to continue in consumer discrete GPU venture or not. if Arc still not making profit with battlemage then bye bye discrete Arc.
    Reply
  • renz496
    RichardtST said:
    AMD has gone on to prosper without him. Perhaps now Intel will too.

    I wouldn't worry about the GPU market. Intel has that locked down now since NGreedia will not stoop so low as the <$500 GPU market. Intel has a chance to make some money here. I think this is them jumping on that chance.

    i don't think so. even with current Arc intel already admit that they are not making money. and that is by using TSMC 6nm process which is cheaper version of TSMC 7nm. the only way you can make money by selling your hardware with cheaper price is if you able to sell them in very large volume to counter that small margin on each unit. component and wafer are getting more and more expensive. many people said AMD letting go the chance to gain market share with RX7000 series by not going with cheaper aggressive price since the very beginning. maybe AMD really want to do that but cost wise it might be not realistic for them to do it.
    Reply
  • I wish him all the luck with his new business and hopefully it’s successful and employees lots of people while paying good wages
    Reply
  • Avro Arrow
    I sometimes don't know how he got the positions that he did. Maybe the companies that hired him were desperate and he knew how to tell them what they wanted to hear. I know that Intel was desperate in the GPU sector but I don't remember ATi being overly desperate.

    Regardless, his portfolio will now have two GPU types in it, one of which was a failure and both of whom have ridiculous nomenclature. I mean, seriously, who thought that "Vega" was a good name for a video card? I thought that it was hokey as hell and who is going to take a card called "Battlemage" seriously? Arc wasn't a great name but it was sure as hell better than Battlemage.

    When I think of the name Battlemage, I think of some annoying troll in WoW, not a potent video card. :LOL:
    Reply