According to a new forecast, 50% of notebooks and 45% of desktops will use gCPUs in 2011, up from 39% and 36%, respectively. By 2014, 83% of notebooks will use gCPUs with integrated graphics processors, the share of desktop PCs will hit 76%, the firm said. "With GEMs [graphics enabled microprocessors] capable of generating the total graphic output of a PC, no additional graphics processor or add-in graphics card is needed," said said Peter Lin, principal analyst for compute platforms at IHS. "Computers today are serving up ever-richer multimedia experiences, so the graphics capabilities of PCs have become more important, driving the rising penetration of GEMs."
The obvious question would be what the effect on discrete graphics cards may be, even if AMD is unlikely to torpedo the demand for its own products. IHS noted that "discrete graphics cards will remain the solution of choice for leading-edge graphics, providing high-end performance for applications such as games." GEMs, as far as their graphics capability is concerned, are likely to be targeted especially at mainstream and value PCs, IHS said.
Both AMD and Intel are positioning their gCPUs as a way to reduce the manufacturing cost of their chip solutions as well as a way to reduce the influence of third-party manufacturers within their platform environments as many users will perceive embedded graphics solutions as good enough for their purposes. While Intel is relying on a single general gCPU approach, AMD is expected to release five application platforms with five GEM microprocessor categories.
Via is also part of the game, but caters with its gCPU solutions to embedded and industrial applications, IHS iSuppli said.