Jon Peddie Research (JPR) today announced its market study: Opportunities, Threats, and Changes Created by the EPG & HPU - Tension at the Inflection Point.
A genuine inflection point is occurring in the PC and related industries, the integration of powerful SIMD graphics processing elements with multi-core, multi-stage scalar X86 CPUs. In so doing the stalwart and ubiquitous IGP - integrated graphics processor, will fade out of existence, JPR's report says.
Because the graphics processor unit, GPU, grew in greater complexity than the CPU during the past eight years, exceeding the transistor count, and matching or exceeding the die size of the CPU, many thought the two would never be able to cohabitate.
Amazing things have become possible as semiconductor manufacturing tolerances get ever smaller. With four times the number of transistors possible in the same space as the previous manufacturing node or feature space, the compute density demanded by GPUs suddenly becomes not just feasible, but completely possible, and practical.
Moving graphics into the CPUs will be attractive first to the builders of low-cost machines, JPR claims. Intel's Core i5 (Clarkdale and Arrandale), which are Embedded Processor Graphics (EPG) units, were the first wave. Intel's Sandy Bridge will be next generation, while AMD will introduce a massive SIMD GPU array in their fusion processors (Ontario and Llano) which will be the first Heterogeneous Processor Units (HPUs.)
"The impact in the total PC and related market on discrete GPUs due to the combination of devices being offered with integrated graphics (IGPs, EPGs, and HPUs) will break the historical rise of discrete GPU sales and put the category in decline, " according to the report.
"The EPG/HPU will truly revolutionize the PC and associated industries. The amount of computation capability available in the size, weight, power consumption of systems equipped with EPG/HPUs, and for the price they will be offered, will upset the market dynamics like never before, and maybe not since the introduction of the PC," JPR concludes.