Intel and AMD are forming an unholy laptop chip alliance

AMD shares surge on a report of laptop chip deal with Intel to fight off Nvidia

Nvidia holds almost 80% of the market for stand-alone graphics chips by revenue, in direct competition with AMD, and competes with Intel on artificial intelligence chips for large corporations, the Wall Street Journal noted. The new pairing hopes to target gamers looking for high-end performance on newer thinner and lighter laptops.

Chip rivals AMD and Intel today unveiled a partnership that will take on fellow chip maker Nvidia in high-performance graphics. But they can not deliver the power needed to run games with much gusto, so Intel's mobile chips are often paired with Nvidia GPUs in laptops. It uses new Intel processors with a custom AMD graphics chip to enable a thinner, more powerful and energy efficient laptops.

In an announcement on their website, Intel has confirmed that their 8th generation H-series mobile CPUs won't be using Intel's integrated Iris graphics solution anymore.

Specifically, the new processor integrates a "semi-custom" AMD graphics chip and the second generation of Intel's "High Bandwidth Memory (HBM2)", which is comparable to GDDR 5 in a traditional laptop. "If successful, Intel participates in the discrete graphics revenue for the first time and AMD gets its Radeon graphics into high-end gaming notebooks". These systems average 26 mm in thickness whereas the modern premium laptops are trending down to 16 mm or less.

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According to AMD this is not a licensing deal and there has been no transfer or license of IP to Intel.

Scott Herkelman, vice president and general manager of AMD's Radeon Technologies Group, said the collaboration with Intel expands the installed base for AMD Radeon GPUs and brings to market a differentiated solution for high-performance graphics. But to connect the different processor parts together, the chip relies on an Intel technology called Embedded Multi-Die Interconnect Bridge or EMIB. This allows information to pass more quickly in "extreme close proximity".

Intel also recently partnered with Waymo to work on fully autonomous cars, ZDNet reported. "This new semi-custom GPU puts the performance and capabilities of Radeon graphics into the hands of an expanded set of enthusiasts who want the best visual experience possible". It says the Intel chips are designed for intensive gamers where the Ryzen chips can handle games but aren't specifically designed for that objective.

There's no word on an exact release date, but Intel says it expects manufacturers to begin shipping systems based on the new chip at some point in the first quarter of 2018.

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