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Intel and AMD are forming an unholy laptop chip alliance

07 November 2017

Don't bother checking your calendar, we are still in November and this is not an April Fools' Day prank.

The gaming segment is one of the bright spots in the otherwise tiresome and declining PC market, and this is where the Intel-AMD partnership will make the greatest impact. In this case, this collaboration with AMD will enable thinner, lighter and more powerful notebook PCs that are as little as 11mm thick (although Intel contends that 16mm or less is the prime target).

"Currently, most enthusiast mobile PCs have Intel Core H-series processors plus higher-powered discrete graphics, resulting in systems that average 26mm in height".

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The partnership between AMD and Intel looks to break this trend, while allowing for gaming laptops to be ultrabook thin; so far only the Razer Blade can be seen as a slim gaming laptop. It'll feature second generation High Bandwidth Memory (HBM2) and an Intel-exclusive, semi-custom discrete graphics chip from AMD's Radeon Technologies Group, all of which will be rolled into a single processor package. They've confirmed that the new chip is meant for notebooks that are meant to be thin and portable.

For now, Intel and AMD aren't giving technical details behind the new chip, like how fast the cores on it will run. "This new semi-custom GPU puts the performance and capabilities of Radeon graphics into the hands of an expanded set of enthusiasts who want the best visual experience possible". But there was one piece missing: Discrete graphics.

Intel created a new connection for this project. This small intelligent bridge allows information to be passed in extremely close proximity while also eliminating various manufacturing and design complexities.

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While the AMD collaboration will be the biggest takeaway from this announcement, Intel is keen to point out that its new Embedded Multi-Die Interconnect Bridge is at the heart of the design.

"We've added unique software drivers and interfaces to this semi-custom discrete GPU that coordinate information among all three elements of the platform". Or you could choose performance with the Intel H-series processors and a dGPU.

Intel also recently partnered with Waymo to work on fully autonomous cars, ZDNet reported. Nvidia is still the leading player in the graphics chip market with customers buying its products for high-end gaming and for cryptocurrency mining, but AMD has been slowly chipping away at that lead.

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Intel announced a rare partnership with its longtime rival AMD on Monday, using AMD's graphics processors inside a new laptop design. This partnership gets more AMD GPUs out there, although it remains to be seen how well AMD's custom-made effort will stack up to the advancements NVIDIA has made in mobile gaming.

Intel and AMD are forming an unholy laptop chip alliance