CHIP DESIGNER AMD believes that it is on a divergent path from Intel thanks to its accelerated processor unit (APU) and that Intel buying Nvidia "would never happen".
Talking exclusively with The INQUIRER, Leslie Sobon, VP of product and platform marketing at AMD said that the product differentiation between AMD and Intel will grow in the future. Sobon said that Intel is taking a "big chip" approach to combining the CPU with the GPU, saying that Intel "is throwing more CPU" rather than GPU into its chip logic budgets.
According to Sobon, "The distance between AMD and Intel will expand as OpenCL becomes more and more mature and as more and more developers start moving to it, and the reason behind it is that unless [Intel] can buy Nvidia they are not going to get discrete level graphics."
Asked whether Intel acquiring Nvidia is something AMD is worried about, Sobon said, "No, it would never happen," and that her previous reference to Intel having to buy Nvidia to get discrete level graphics was made as a joke. Microsoft, which has recently been revealed as Nvidia's king-maker, might be happy that AMD, an important partner, thinks that Intel, one of the most cash-rich chip firms out there, will never get together with the Green Goblin.
More seriously, Sobon admitted that AMD's acquisition of ATI was simply to get the firm's intellectual property relating to graphics technology. That wasn't a big surprise, but Sobon said, "Graphics intellectual property isn't developed over night, think of how many times [Intel's] Larrabee failed, to build graphics technology is a hard thing to do, and [Intel] have just not been successful."
Sobon said that in 2014 AMD will ship processors that require discrete graphics cards, though she claimed those ultra high-end chips will only make up two per cent of AMD's business. Sobon also said that AMD has plans to produce an Opteron chip that has a GPU on-die, although it will be completely separate to current Fusion cores.
Sobon wouldn't be drawn on AMD's Opteron APU timeline but given Intel's push with Knights Ferry and an impending announcement, we reckon that AMD will have to get Opteron APUs out by the middle of 2013 to have a fighting chance against Chipzilla. µ