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Wednesday, December 07, 2016
Could Future Intel Chips Have AMD Graphics Inside?


The latest AMD rumor is that the company will be licensing its Radeon graphics technology to Intel, although the scenario is very unlike to be close to the truth.



Both AMD and Intel have remained silent.

The rumor originated with the following quote from the chief editor of computer gaming enthusiasts site HardOCP in their forum: "The licensing deal between AMD and Intel is signed and done for putting AMD GPU tech into Intel's iGPU."

But Kyle Bennett claims may not be what this deal is about exactly.

The problem gere is the compexity of the GPU-related licensing. Obviously Intel needs a patent cross-license agreement with one of the two major players in PC graphics technology development - AMD or NVIDIA.

Back in 2011, Intel signed a patent cross license agreement with NVIDIA to settle a lawsuit. As part of the settlement Intel pays NVIDIA $1.5B over the life of the agreement for access to NVIDIA's graphics patent portfolio - an agreement that ends March 31, 2017.

With the complexity of PC graphics, it's impossible to build a graphics processor without infringing on any number of patents from both AMD and NVIDIA.

Intel lags on graphics IP and in order to build integrated graphics, so it has no choice other than to infringe on a number of existing graphics patents. As part of the 2011 legal settlement with NVIDIA, Intel signed a patent license agreement within NVIDIA to cover graphics processing. If Intel now signs a patent agreement with AMD, Intel could let the NVIDIA license agreement expire and be replaced by this new AMD agreement.

Using AMD's Radeon graphics technology and integrating it into Intel PC processors is an even complex and disruptive scenario. It would make Intel reliant on its biggest PC competitor for a key technology. This would mean that AMD would have access to Intel?s process and fab technology and processor roadmap.

In addition, AMD would be arming Intel with better graphics technology, negating AMD?s main competitive advantages in PC processors. AMD is set to launch its Zen CPU and may feel it can still compete on a level playing field.



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