News Firm Estimates Intel's GPU Unit Losses at $3.5 Billion, Suggests Sell Off

jkhoward

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If Intel ever sells their graphics division I will never buy another one of their products. We absolutely need a third player in the market. The first round never goes well, and I have faith they’ll get it right the second time just like AMD RDNA 2.
 
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JamesJones44

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It would be a bad move IMO. Datacenter will become more and more GPU/ML centric as ML continues to grow. If they want to get out of the consumer GPU market, that's fine, but I think you might as well close up shop at Intel if you just let the datacenter market go from the GPU side, they have to try to break in if they are going to survive long term.
 

Alvar "Miles" Udell

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Intel was the company who said ,"You know, over at AMD, Raja put their GPU division so far behind that Vega and Navi was incomparable to nVidia counterparts...so let's hire him!", and now they're reaping what they sewed.

If anything they should give him the axe, poach someone proper from nVidia and/or AMD, and get themselves back on track.
 

escksu

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Haha... When I first read that Raja was going to Intel, my first thought was wow!! Good luck to Intel. They actually hired him after the mess he created at AMD.

Today, we still have yet to see any decent discrete GPU from Intel. We yet to see a single Bitcoin miner. Basically nothing... Only delays after delays.

However, I do not think Intel should axe their graphics division. But they should realign it's focus. CPUs no longer adequate for high end computing and specialized processors like AI and GPUs are needed. So, I would say Intel should just axe the discrete gpu (basically no gaming GPUs) and focus only on the compute units.
 

escksu

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If Intel ever sells their graphics division I will never buy another one of their products. We absolutely need a third player in the market. The first round never goes well, and I have faith they’ll get it right the second time just like AMD RDNA 2.
I don't think they will sell their CPU division. I think they will axe the discrete gpu unit instead and focus on hpc only. At their current stage, it really makes no sense to compete with AMD or Nvidia in gaming GPU.
 

sweepyjoelschl

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Haha... When I first read that Raja was going to Intel, my first thought was wow!! Good luck to Intel. They actually hired him after the mess he created at AMD.

Today, we still have yet to see any decent discrete GPU from Intel. We yet to see a single Bitcoin miner. Basically nothing... Only delays after delays.

However, I do not think Intel should axe their graphics division. But they should realign it's focus. CPUs no longer adequate for high end computing and specialized processors like AI and GPUs are needed. So, I would say Intel should just axe the discrete gpu (basically no gaming GPUs) and focus only on the compute units.
Exactly. That guy was always a lot of talk and bluster but never produced anything much worthwhile. I will have completely lost faith in Gelsinger if he throws in the towel on yet another endeavor. First Optane is axed and now possibly this. The KEY is getting the right people running these divisions instead of those that are all talk like Raj. AMD got rid of him for a reason. I am still unsure if Gelsinger is just talk and bluster. On paper he seems to have the technical chops but he has PRODUCED ZERO RESULTS. Plus foolish Intel paid him a boatload UP FRONT instead of making it contingent upon success. Meanwhile, the brilliant Dr. Lisa Su has hired the proper people and is executing to perfection.
 

blppt

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Intel was the company who said ,"You know, over at AMD, Raja put their GPU division so far behind that Vega and Navi was incomparable to nVidia counterparts...so let's hire him!", and now they're reaping what they sewed.

If anything they should give him the axe, poach someone proper from nVidia and/or AMD, and get themselves back on track.
I mean, we don't know what kind of restraints AMD put on his team considering that was well before Zen saved their bacon, but yeah, it seemed kinda odd that they wouldn't try poaching Nvidia's guys given the success they were having at the time.

Nvidia's last dud was probably the GTX480---that's a long time ago.
 
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bit_user

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Exactly. That guy was always a lot of talk and bluster but never produced anything much worthwhile.
I used to think this, until RDNA and RDNA2. Their success made me wonder how much influence he had in them and if I judged him too harshly. Unless there was a separate team behind RDNA that was operating in parallel, then Raja definitely had a hand in it.

I will have completely lost faith in Gelsinger if he throws in the towel on yet another endeavor. First Optane is axed and now possibly this.
As sad as I was to see Optane go, I honestly don't know if the physics allow it ever to be cost-competitive. It was probably conceived in a world of SLC and MLC planar flash, but now it has to compete against TLC and QLC with hundreds of layers. There could be physical limitations which prevent 3D XPoint from ever being competitive in terms of cost per bit. And we know it doesn't have the endurance to serve as a cheap DRAM alternative, contrary to their early messaging.

On paper he seems to have the technical chops but he has PRODUCED ZERO RESULTS.
Not sure about that. Everything Intel launched or is struggling with pre-dates him. We won't hear about projects originated or incubated under him for a couple more years.

One thing we do know he's done is IFS. And that seems like an idea whose time has come.

Meanwhile, the brilliant Dr. Lisa Su has hired the proper people and is executing to perfection.
She's indeed doing a terrific job, but she incorrectly gets credit for Zen which actually originated under her predacessor.
 
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bit_user

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Last I looked, Intel IGPs accounted for over 60% of all PC graphics. Since its discrete GPUs use the same architecture as its Xe IGPs, Intel's graphics division isn't going anywhere.
Exactly. A lot of the HW & software IP is shared across these product lines. Intel needs to maintain competitiveness in their iGPU solutions, especially to fend off competition from Apple & Nvidia-equipped MediaTek SoCs.

And then you have the whole AI/ML/HPC/etc. being the largest big-money growth markets with steady future prospects, Intel cannot really pass on that.
Partly agree. In terms of AI/ML, they have Habanna Labs, which seems to be executing well. It does those things better than GPUs, meaning they don't need to stay in the GPU market for those reasons.

However, Intel cannot be credible in the HPC space without a GPU-like accelerator. So, they really need to decide whether they want to stay in that market.

Finally, it's not clear how much AMX has contributed to their delays in Sapphire Rapids. If they had instead leaned on Habanna and Arctic Sound for that functionality, maybe it would've launched by now and they wouldn't be hemorrhaging server marketshare as badly.
 
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spongiemaster

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Intel was the company who said ,"You know, over at AMD, Raja put their GPU division so far behind that Vega and Navi was incomparable to nVidia counterparts...so let's hire him!", and now they're reaping what they sewed.

If anything they should give him the axe, poach someone proper from nVidia and/or AMD, and get themselves back on track.
Raja doesn't code drivers. It doesn't appear there is anything fundamentally wrong with the hardware, the reviews all point to the software as the problem which even Intel is admitting isn't any good. It certainly looks like it's the drivers holding up a wider release, and I don't see how Raja can be blamed for that.
 
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sweepyjoelschl

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I used to think this, until RDNA and RDNA2. Their success made me wonder how much influence he had in them and if I judged him too harshly. Unless there was a separate team behind RDNA that was operating in parallel, then Raja definitely had a hand in it.


As sad as I was to see Optane go, I honestly don't know if the physics allow it ever to be cost-competitive. It was probably conceived in a world of SLC and MLC planar flash, but now it has to compete against TLC and QLC with hundreds of layers. There could be physical limitations which prevent 3D XPoint from ever being competitive in terms of cost per bit. And we know it doesn't have the endurance to serve as a cheap DRAM alternative, contrary to their early messaging.


Not sure about that. Everything Intel launched or is struggling with pre-dates him. We won't hear about projects originated or incubated under him for a couple more years.

One thing we do know he's done is IFS. And that seems like an idea whose time has come.


She's indeed doing a terrific job, but she incorrectly gets credit for Zen which actually originated under her predacessor.
The Optane DIMMs is what was tantalizing to me. The incredible endurance, fast access times, direct cell access so it doesnt suffer from write amplification issues, and having a machine that was comprised with terabytes of basically CORE memory just seemed like a fantastic idea. But Intel would only let the DIMMs work with Intel processors because they wanted to gouge for them. Instead they could have opened it up. Perhaps the cost would always have been prohibitive but..... but to cancel such a tantalizing product was just cruel. I hope they did not stop all of the R/D on the technology
 

spongiemaster

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He doesn't design the hardware at Intel, either. He hired in as a Senior VP, and was recently promoted to Exec VP. The people who write drivers work for him.
Which is missing the point that it doesn't make sense to lay the blame for this mess at his feet. What exact effect does a Senior VP have on driver quality? Intel has been coding GPU drivers forever for their iGPU's. By anyone's standards, the gaming side of them have been terrible. Did Intel replace the entire driver team when Raja was hired? How would that even have been possible? There's only two companies that had personnel with the knowledge to help Intel and AMD and Nvidia weren't about to let all their software engineers move to Intel. Raja is not the person who is going to teach Intel's software engineers to code proper DX11 drivers.
 
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bit_user

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The Optane DIMMs is what was tantalizing to me. The incredible endurance, ...
Except the endurance turned out to be not that incredible. That meant it could't be naively used as a DRAM substitute. Instead, you had to use it as a lower memory tier, which wasn't well supported by operating systems or software and didn't offer quite the same benefits in random access performance for massive datasets.

But Intel would only let the DIMMs work with Intel processors because they wanted to gouge for them.
I'm sure that's not what killed it.

I hope they did not stop all of the R/D on the technology
If the tech had untapped potential ever to be viable, they would've found a buyer for the IP.

I am reminded of how they screwed over Micron, during the breakup. They basically kept Micron from retaining some key IP and personnel to ever make it viable. Not sure if that was just Intel's legal department going rogue or what, but it seemed in bad faith.
 

bit_user

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Which is missing the point that it doesn't make sense to lay the blame for this mess at his feet. What exact effect does a Senior VP have on driver quality?
His experience at AMD will have informed him just how critical drivers are + how much resources it takes for them to be competitive. As a Senior VP, he controls budgets, headcounts, project schedules, etc. If he can't be blamed, then it really seems like you can't blame anybody for this mess.

Intel has been coding GPU drivers forever for their iGPU's. By anyone's standards, the gaming side of them have been terrible. Did Intel replace the entire driver team when Raja was hired? How would that even have been possible? There's only two companies that had personnel with the knowledge to help Intel and AMD and Nvidia weren't about to let all their software engineers move to Intel.
So, the only way someone can know how to write good GPU drivers is by working at AMD and Nvidia? How did they learn?

Look, I'm sure there are some ex-employees from various GPU vendors (don't forget about mobile GPUs) and Microsoft, who can be lured for the right price, not to mention current and former game engine developers. He hired on in Nov. 2017, which seems like plenty of time to staff up and re-invigorate the driver team, if it had been identified as an issue.

Raja is not the person who is going to teach Intel's software engineers to code proper DX11 drivers.
I'm beginning to think you have no idea what a Senior VP does. Of course he doesn't, but that doesn't mean he's not responsible for making sure the drivers are up to scratch on launch day!
 

DougMcC

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I have such a hard time understanding the 'hire from outside' mentality at big companies. I guarantee you Intel had at least 10, and probably more like 50 people who they could have promoted internally to run this project who would have executed it better than the person they hired from outside. I keep watching it happen at my company (midsized) and we are stagnating as a result. Soon i'm going to have to make my way to another startup, which seem to be the only companies that realize the quickest path to getting ahead is to promote the people who know WTF they are doing.
 

renz496

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If Intel ever sells their graphics division I will never buy another one of their products. We absolutely need a third player in the market. The first round never goes well, and I have faith they’ll get it right the second time just like AMD RDNA 2.
first round? i believe this is their third time trying for the past 20 years or so. another problem is consumer want third (or even more) player into the market but in the end they have no interest to buy GPU other than nvidia (and maybe a little bit of AMD). they only want other GPU player to increase the competition so they can get their nvidia or AMD gpu at cheaper price. they have no interest at all to sustain the competition to exist going forward.
 

spongiemaster

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His experience at AMD will have informed him just how critical drivers are + how much resources it takes for them to be competitive. As a Senior VP, he controls budgets, headcounts, project schedules, etc. If he can't be blamed, then it really seems like you can't blame anybody for this mess.
And nothing you listed has any specific affect on driver quality. You're firing the coach of a sports team because the star player decided to have a terrible season. You can be the greatest strategist in the world, but in the end it is up to the players/engineers to actually do the work successfully.


So, the only way someone can know how to write good GPU drivers is by working at AMD and Nvidia? How did they learn?
Decades of experience. Jensen Huang said years ago that Nvidia was a software company, not a hardware company. ATi's were terrible when AMD bought them and they remained terrible for the years before Raja got there. They were terrible when he was there, and they were terrible for years after he left. It's only be very recently like the past few months where AMD is making any notable progress on driver quality.

I'm beginning to think you have no idea what a Senior VP does. Of course he doesn't, but that doesn't mean he's not responsible for making sure the drivers are up to scratch on launch day!
I actually asked you what the direct impact of a Senior VP has on driver development. I don't know the answer to that, and the answer you gave doesn't convince me he deserves 100% of the blame and the only person being held responsible for Intel's crappy GPU drivers. He doesn't deserve 0%, but the higher you get up in management above the actual developers, the less blame I would put on the person. Like I said above, no amount of strategy and cheer leading and synergy meetings is going to make up for incompetency by the actual coders.
 
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renz496

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Intel was the company who said ,"You know, over at AMD, Raja put their GPU division so far behind that Vega and Navi was incomparable to nVidia counterparts...so let's hire him!", and now they're reaping what they sewed.

If anything they should give him the axe, poach someone proper from nVidia and/or AMD, and get themselves back on track.
no. Raja initial task at AMD is to convince AMD to spun RTG into an independent company from AMD. from there intel would buy RTG and take all the tech for themselves. rather than intel hiring Raja it is more like Raja is going back to where he belongs in the first place. about poaching talent from nvidia or AMD i think intel did get Tom Peterson from nvidia and several few more from AMD. but the GPU world is pretty much being dominated and controlled by what being done by nvidia. some legit GPU maker that still exist did not want to compete in desktop PC market because some of thing that nvidia did.
 

spongiemaster

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first round? i believe this is their third time trying for the past 20 years or so. another problem is consumer want third (or even more) player into the market but in the end they have no interest to buy GPU other than nvidia (and maybe a little bit of AMD). they only want other GPU player to increase the competition so they can get their nvidia or AMD gpu at cheaper price. they have no interest at all to sustain the competition to exist going forward.
Intel's only attempt at a gaming dGPU was the i740 released in February 1998. That's almost 25 years ago. There have been no attempts between that one and the current attempt.
 

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