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Friday, October 21, 2011
Embedded Graphics Processors Killing off IGPs

The release of processors with embedded graphics pushes the IGPs out of existence but they do not threat discrete GPUs, according to Jon Peddie Research (JPR) research and consulting firm.

In 2011, with the full scale production of scalar X86 CPUs with powerful multi-core, SIMD graphics processing elements, a true inflection point has occurred in the PC and related industries. And, as a result, the ubiquitous and stalwart IGP- integrated graphics processor, is fading out of existence.

For several reasons, many people believed (and some hoped) the CPU and the GPU would never be integrated:

- GPUs are characterized by a high level of complexity, with power and cooling demands, and have dramatically different memory management needs.
- GPU design cycles are faster than those of the CPU.
- GPU has grown in complexity compared to the CPU exceeding the transistor count, and matching or exceeding the die size of the CPU.
- The x86 has steadily increased in complexity, power consumption, and become multi-core.

With four times the number transistors possible in the same space as the previous manufacturing node or feature space Moore?s law seems unstoppable, and with the move to 32nm and now 28nm the possibilities for integration of such complex and alien functionality is not only possible and feasible, but a reality.

Jon Peddie, President of JPR, notes a new trend in the impact on discrete GPUs due to the combination of devices being offered with integrated graphics (IGPs, EPGs, and HPUs). "The integrated processors will impact GPU sales and change traditional sales patterns. The trend may even put the category in decline. At least so some believe, but it's not that simple. Nothing in the PC industry is." The EPG/HPU will truly revolutionize the PC and associated industries. The amount of computation capability available in the size, weight, and power consumption of systems equipped with EPG/HPUs coupled with the attractive prices they will carry will upset the market dynamics like never before, and maybe not since the introduction of the PC.

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