Although CES will go on for on for another day, the show is done for me. I've spent much of the past few days meeting with everyone from motherboard manufacturers to ARM to GlobalFoundries.Some of what I've learned you've already read about, but much of it will appear in the weeks and months to come. I don't believe there's ever been a time quite as exciting as this.

I'll start with Intel - the makers of two out of the three most exciting things I saw at CES (Dell made the third if you're curious, but I can't explain why just yet). Intel's focus was obviously Arrandale and Clarkdale, its first CPU with on-package graphics:

Arrandale - the larger die is the 45nm graphics core

Intel had a few demos of what you can do with the on-package 'dale graphics. The first example was Lenovo's new Clarkdale workstation that is actually AutoCAD certified using Intel's integrated graphics.

I gathered that this was a big event for Intel since no previous Intel integrated graphics could garner such a thing. I'm not sure if an AutoCAD user would want to use Intel integrated graphics, but perhaps it's finally sufficient? Either way Intel wouldn't have been able to come close to achieving this in the past. Like I mentioned in the Clarkdale review - Intel's HD Graphics is finally on par with competing AMD and NVIDIA solutions.

Cyberlink dropped by Intel and demonstrated PowerDVD 9 working with the new Blu-ray 3D spec, also on Clarkdale integrated graphics:

The demo worked in 3D but gave me a bit of a headache so I cut it short.

Imagination Technologies - Faster GPUs for SoCs


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  • GeorgeH - Monday, January 11, 2010 - link


    While I agree with you that the new IGP is impressive for an Intel product, cheering it on is a little bit like cheering on a paraplegic’s first bunt while other players are busy hitting home runs.

    In the past when there were other options I would have been less critical, but now that it’s Intel’s IGP’s and chipsets or nothing things become more serious. I’m worried that Intel is going to only provide “adequate” solutions, bumping up performance and features simply to match competitors when they get too far ahead instead of significantly advancing the market all by themselves. As an example, when is there going to be an Intel chipset with SATA 6gbps or USB 3.0? When is their IGP going to get DX11?

    I realize that for the foreseeable future discrete will always be the best way to go, but with so much of the market only using IGPs their performance will always limit and delay what gets developed for the rest of us. I’m not talking about games so much as things like Microsoft’s Aero interface and sweet little Mini-ITX HTPC platforms (maybe not be the best examples, but they should illustrate the point.)

    As an aside, I did catch the links. I always value Anand’s (and AnandTech’s) opinions on what is significant and impressive even if I don’t agree with you – otherwise I wouldn’t be here. ;)
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, January 12, 2010 - link

    Really it's a balancing act in many ways. More transistors means more power, so you don't want every graphics chip out there to ship with 128 SPs/Stream Processors/Pipelines. Ideally, you'd make it so you can totally shut down the unneeded parts of the chip, but even so... what do you do if you want to make an ultraportable laptop and the power envelope is 15W for the CPU and GPU? You need a chip that will never use more than that amount of power (i.e. generate more than that amount of heat).

    So the way I see it, while we will continue to see improvements to IGPs over the coming years, they will never be a replacement for discrete GPUs. We're now at the point where they're able to do just about everything we need, such as H.264 video decoding, 2560x1600 output, etc. We could get 12-bit color processing and two dual-link capable outputs (or HDMI 1.4), but for gaming we'll always want a discrete GPU.

    Which brings us to the final point: now that we have ATI and NVIDIA both supporting GPU switching so you can turn the discrete GPU on and off, the IGP should be viewed more as a power saving solution than a performance part. You want battery life and low power, you use the IGP (whether it's Intel or someone else); when you want 3D performance, you enable the discrete GPU.

    Now the only thing I really need from Intel is Arrandale ULV... and drivers that work in every situation (i.e. all games where the hardware meets the requirements run without crashing, utilities like DXVA Checker don't fail, and that sort of thing).
  • lopri - Monday, January 11, 2010 - link

    Thank you for the clarification. Yeah I thought GMA couldn't possibly an exciting subject even for Anand, its technical prowess (or the lack thereof) notwithstanding. I couldn't even 'give away' a G35 based system to a neighbor's kid due to the fear of possible embarrassment.

    No complaint on improvement, but I have a couple of questions on the new Intel HD Graphics:

    1) Does 2560x1600 work?
    2) Dual displays?

    Normally I wouldn't expect such things on GMA, but I thought I saw these being 'advertised' by Intel. I haven't seen any review verifying them. I'd much appreciate if you could tell me how/whether these work.
  • semo - Monday, January 11, 2010 - link

    I don't know why Anand finds Intel stuff the most exciting tech at this year's CES. The thing that I still find exciting is SSDs. Finally after so many years of computing we are getting quick responsive computers (on both desktops and laptops). For years people have been looking at hour glasses and beach balls wondering what's taking so long. Finally we have a solution in the working (and it's nothing to do with CPUs or memory because they aren't the bottlenecks anymore).

    The other thing I just saw is the Livescribe pen"> This thing is amazing. I know this site doesn't do peripherals but this thing is much more than this (much better than the Asus keyboard I would say).

    Oh and 3D TVs... blegh.
  • PorscheRacer - Saturday, January 9, 2010 - link

    20 yeas later they caught up, yeah I'd be excited too. It's a long time coming. Reply
  • GeorgeH - Saturday, January 9, 2010 - link

    Caught up to what? 780G/785G? Terrific, Intel is where AMD was 2 years ago. Once AMD drops the 8-series chipsets, I'd say there's a better than good chance Intel will once again find itself where it's most comfortable - years behind the curve. Reply
  • Calin - Monday, January 11, 2010 - link

    This move might force AMD to improve even more the performance of the 8-series integrated graphics - remember that the 3200-based integrated graphics from the AMD 690 (I think) had only half the power of the discrete card based on the same chipset.
    I look forward to a time when the integrated graphic is at least as powerfull than the entry-level discrete card
  • strikeback03 - Monday, January 11, 2010 - link

    Wouldn't that make that discrete card worthless? as in why would anyone release a card that only matches integrated graphics?

    And on a side note on smartphone graphics, I would have no intention of playing 3d games on my phone and would hope the graphics could be shut down to preserve battery life.
  • Calin - Monday, January 18, 2010 - link

    That would make the discrete card worthless for anything _already having_ that discrete graphics. For the rest (cough Intel IGP cough), it will still be an important upgrade. Reply
  • nubie - Monday, January 11, 2010 - link

    That won't happen until it gets the same memory bandwidth as a real video card.

    I don't think there are many "sideport" memory motherboards.

    Alternatively you could use triple-channel memory and have one stick exclusively for the graphics (as well as sharing the regular memory.) Then you would be in the market for really fast DDR3 in sizes of 256mb to 1GB.

    Intel seems to be on the "right" track in getting the GPU the least memory latency, but only for casual gaming and anything else the GPU can do.

    I would like to wait until they have on-core NB and graphics, instead of just on-package.

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