First photos of the new Intel-AMD multi-chip module surface
11/12/2017 - As pointed out by reader fwip in the comments, Intel could very well continue including their iGPUs along with the AMD GPU. The article has been edited to reflect this.
Intel dropped a bombshell earlier this week about a new chip that is a portmanteau of an Intel 8th generation H-series CPU and integrated custom AMD graphics. Many tech pundits are still at loggerheads as to what implications this will have for the future of computing in the months to come. To add some impetus, AMD's ex-Chief Architect of the Radeon Technologies Group, Raja Koduri, shifted base to Intel to spearhead their Core and Visual Computing Group. We will of course be seeing more information about this new collaboration and Raja's plans in the months ahead (Larrabee resurrection, anyone?) but for now, we can tease you with a couple of pictures of how the Intel-AMD multi-chip module (MCM) will look on a real motherboard.
A photo was shared by Bits and Chips on their Twitter feed showing off what could likely be a NUC-class motherboard with the embedded Intel-AMD MCM. The only thing that is preventing us from confirming it to a be a NUC board is the vertically stacked DIMMs, although, it could also mean that new NUCs could have enough height to accommodate vertical DIMMs. Or, this could be some form of a mini-ITX board. What is more interesting is that, the MCM has very low Z-height, meaning, it could soon find its way into many ultrabooks next year. Hopefully, we could also see some new designs being showcased at CES 2018.
In the above picture, one can see the new Intel H-series chip to the left, followed by a gap (part of the EMIB interconnect), and finally the combined AMD GPU and HBM2 memory stack to the right. There are a few speculations doing the rounds as to what the exact specifications of the CPU and GPU could be. We've seen a few leaked benchmarks that show the name of the CPU to be the Core i7-8705G and the Core i7-8809G and that the performance of the integrated AMD GPU rivals that of the NVIDIA GTX 1050. The integrated AMD GPU could be based off the Polaris architecture, as there is a less likelihood that AMD would let Intel make hay off Vega's sunshine just yet; not to mention the fact that Vega has been specifically made to target the GTX 1060 and above discrete graphics offerings from NVIDIA. It would also be interesting to see how the thermals are on this MCM and how OEM's would scale the chip according to the TDP values they target.
Although one could think of this new CPU-GPU combination as an integrated GPU, it is important to note that the EMIB is just a form of the PCI Express Gen 3.0 bus, now directly etched on the substratum. Hence, the AMD GPU in the MCM is a discrete GPU for all intents and purposes and Intel could very well continue integrating the iGPU on to the CPU die for low power situations. We will, of course, know more details in the days to come.
The focus now shifts to what sort of AMD technology licensing would Mr. Koduri be bringing over to Intel. NVIDIA would surely not be sitting on its laurels and they could very well offer something new if not equivalent, next year. All-in-all, 2018 promises to be an exciting year for PC enthusiasts.