AMD, Intel and Nvidia Shifting Away from Integrated Graphics

AMD, Nvidia and Intel are expected to move away from integrated graphics processors in favor of new development, according to a new research report. If this trend holds, AMD, Nvidia and Intel could move totally away from integrated graphics and this type of chip set design by 2013.

Advanced Micro Devices, Nvidia, Intel, Via and other chip makers are seeing diminishing demand for traditional integrated graphics processors used in laptops and desktops, and these chip vendors could begin stopping shipments of these types of chips and chip sets by 2013, according to new research.

The report from Jon Peddie Research comes during a week when AMD prepared to split itself in two and spin off its manufacturing into a separate company. At the same time, Intel announced a new partnership with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing that looks to expand the market for the Atom processors.

The Peddie research report focused on integrated graphics processors, or IGPs, which are seen as an intimate part of the chip business, but companies such as AMD and Nvidia are looking to expand graphics well beyond traditional chip sets.

"In 2008, 67 percent of the graphics chips shipped were IGPs," said a statement from Jon Peddie Research. "In 2011 it will drop to 20 percent, and by 2013 it will be less than 1 percent."

IGP chip sets are used in desktops, netbooks, and mainstream laptops, as well as embedded systems such as point-of-sale solutions and signage systems. According to analysis company AnandTech, 90 percent of PCs shipped included integrated graphics.

Historically, they've been less expensive, but also less capable of handling high-end, discrete graphics, such as those found in gaming machines and high-end PCs.

Newer chip sets, however, are changing that. The AMD 780G, for example, is touted by the company as its first chip set "that enables everyday computer users to play the latest games with no extra graphics card."

Jon Peddie predicts that between 2010 and 2012, there will be three graphics choices: traditional discrete GPUs, IGP chip sets and processors with embedded graphics. But as IGP suppliers find demand waning, they'll look to new products that can take advantage of their strengths.

"We can already see significant maneuvering between Intel and Nvidia as Nvidia strengthens it high end offerings with CUDA [Compute Unified Device Architecture] development tools, and on the mobile side, the company has introduced the Tegra platform, which relies on an ARM processor and Nvidia graphics," the report said.

The research note continued: "AMD is going head to head with Intel with Fusion, an embedded graphics CPU, but it too is building out its workstation and visualization graphics."