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Graphics Hardware

Graphics-Enabled CPUs To Take Off In 2011 172

angry tapir writes "Half the notebook computers and a growing number of desktops shipped in 2011 will run on graphics-enabled microprocessors as designers Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) increase competition for the units that raise multimedia speeds without add-ons. The processors with built-in graphics capabilities will be installed this year on 115 million notebooks, half of total shipments, and 63 million desktop PCs, or 45 percent of the total, according to analysts."
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Graphics-Enabled CPUs To Take Off In 2011

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  • by petermgreen ( 876956 ) <> on Friday March 18, 2011 @08:26AM (#35528310) Homepage

    And the advantage is...?

    The advantage of shared memory graphics is reduced cost and power consumption.
    The advantage of integrating the memory controller in the CPU is it allows the CPU faster access to memory.
    The advantage of reducing the number of high speed chips is reduced cost and power consumption.

    So with that in mind lets consider the options for a CPU with an integrated memory controller.

    Putting the shared memory graphics on a seperate chip would require a link to the CPU that offered high speed high priority ram access by the GPU and would still leave you with two high speed chips. AMD do this with hypertransport though IIRC they usually have a small ammount of dedicated graphics memory as well to keep the framebuffer traffic off the hypertransport links.

    Not offering shared memory graphics at all rules a platform out of the low end market and makes it less than ideal for the business market in general. Intel did this with the nahelm quad and hex core processors and I belive are planning to do the same with the LGA2011 high end sandy bridge chips.

    So the natural thing to do is to put the shared memory graphics on the CPU with the memory controller. Intel did this with the dual core nahelm chips and with the LGA1155 mainstream sandy bridge chips.

    So there will be more computers with crappy integrated graphics.

    Probablly a few more because there were no nahelm quad cores with integrated graphics support. So if you wanted a fast quad core you pretty much had to have discrete graphics as well whether you wanted them or not.

    Practically speaking sandy bridge puts things pretty much back the way they were before with the choice of processor core count decoupled from whether to use integrated graphics. It's just those integrated graphics are in the CPU rather than the northbridge. Hopefully this will mean the likes of dell will finally migrate off LGA775.

    Oh, and btw, wasn't the plan until recently to basically replace the CPU with the GPU?

    GPUs are great at some types of calculation but suck at branch heavy code. So many algorithms have to be completely redesigned to run on them. IIRC in the case of video encoding GPUs can do it quicker but only using cut down encoders that produce lower quality results.

    AMD was at one point planning to make units that combined the best of both (note: the fusion name which originally reffered to this is now being used to reffer to CPUs and GPUs on the same die but logcially seperate). Dunno if they still are.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982