The first Intel product with AMD Radeon graphics technology is reportedly in the works. The product could be a Kaby Lake chip with AMD Radeon GPU die integrated into it.
Kaby Lake chip with AMD Radeon could be an MCM
Back in December, it was reported that Intel could license AMD Radeon intellectual property to be used as integrated GPUs on its future processors. This came via HardOCP editor Kyle Bennett, and now the same source has revealed that the first product of this collaboration could be out sometime in 2017.
According to Bennett, the Kaby Lake chip with AMD Radeon graphics could be a multi-chip module (MCM). Meaning, it will have the Radeon GPU die separate from the CPU die, instead of an on-die component such as Intel’s own HD Graphics solution.
This suggests that AMD will supply neatly-finished GPU dies to Intel, likely manufactured at its own trusted fabs (Global Foundries or TSMC), and not over at Intel’s. So the graphics giant won’t have to forward its sensitive designs to Chipzilla.
The processor is expected to be an entry-mid range product aimed at the value consumer segment. We might see more collaboration between Intel and AMD over graphics IP in the future, the report concludes.
Licensing deal between AMD and Intel: Win-Win for both
The partnership may sound bizarre to outsiders considering Intel and AMD both compete with each other in the processor market. But the timing actually makes it more likely.
First, Intel is currently in need of a patent protection. The chip giant settled suits with Nvidia in 2011: Intel agreed to pay Nvidia a total of $1.5 billion in licensing fees over the next six years to freely build graphics cores without getting sued.
Now that the licensing deal is winding down, Intel has to have patent protection in order continue developing graphics cores. According to Bennett, Intel is likely to ink a deal with AMD to use Radeon graphics inside of its CPUs.
The deal would give AMD much-needed cash it could use to fund more R&D. Not only this but it would also make Radeon the dominant graphics architecture of the PC market and dethrone Nvidia in graphics.
That being said, neither Intel nor AMD have confirmed any such licensing deal. We’ll continue to follow this story and will update you when we hear more.