The world of technology changes rapidly. Moore’s Law, or the doubling of computing power every two years, sometimes demands that rivals come together. The world of graphics processing is seeing that occur. Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) has a new core processor that combines the CPU with custom discrete graphics from Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD). If you have followed the antitrust issues and the flow of payments and market share in core processors for more than 20 years, then this joint effort may seem to have more than just irony to it.
The move is to target sleeker and thinner devices, which is a new product in the 8th Gen Intel Core processor family. While the press release does not mention NVIDIA Corp. (NASDAQ: NVDA) nor its GeForce or other lines, this seems to be the prime target for Intel and AMD to come together in a world where technology investors and analysts have been gravitating toward.
Intel noted that each product line in its Core family offers a range of new capabilities, workloads and form factors to cater to the diverse needs of enthusiasts. But this is obviously targeting smaller and mobile systems: “thinner, lighter, more powerful enthusiast mobile platforms ….” Intel also noted that most enthusiast mobile PCs have Intel Core H-series processors and also have higher-powered discrete graphics. This makes an average 26 millimeters in height, while thin and light laptops are now trending down to 16 millimeters and some are even as thin as 11 millimeters.
By combining Intel’s Embedded Multi-Die Interconnect Bridge (EMIB) technology with a new power-sharing framework, Intel has said this is the first consumer product that takes advantage of EMIB.
Intel’s release also indicated that this is a great example of Intel and AMD can compete and work together, while delivering innovation that is good for consumers. The combined effort will help to manage the temperature, power delivery and performance while enabling system designers to adjust the ratio of power sharing between the processor and graphics based on workloads and usages. This targets performance gaming.
AMD’s Radeon Technologies Group said of the announced product:
Our collaboration with Intel expands the installed base for AMD Radeon GPUs and brings to market a differentiated solution for high-performance graphics. 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. 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.
Intel is also suggesting that this may not be the end of the collaboration efforts. The release said:
Some might say the PC market is mature and has been for some time. At Intel, we challenge that notion every day. We are always creating new possibilities people haven’t seen or experienced. Look for more to come in the first quarter of 2018, including systems from major OEMs based on this exciting new technology.
Sometimes rivals have to come together when the marketplace wants to give all the credit to another player. In this case, NVIDIA seems to be getting all the technology attention now that AMD’s recovery from two years ago seems to have stalled.
Shares of AMD were last seen up 6% at $11.80 on Monday morning, in a 52-week range of $6.22 to $15.65. This was less than a $2.00 stock as recently as September of 2015. AMD’s more than $15 high had not been seen since 2006. Also worth noting is that AMD’s market value, currently more than $11 billion, has greatly trailed that of Intel and NVIDIA.
Intel shares were trading up 0.6% at $46.36 early Monday, and the new 52-week range after a recent earnings beat is $33.23 to $47.30. Intel’s market cap is $216 billion, and its stock hit a 17-year high after earnings.
NVIDIA shares were trading down 0.7% at $207.25. Its 52-week range is $66.76 to $209.97, and the market cap is now $124 billion.