If all AMD’s Zen 4 Ryzen CPUs include integrated graphics, Intel will be in serious trouble. This is the latest rumour seeping around the edges of the internet, with the suggestion that when AMD shifts away from the AM4 socket in the future it will kit out every one of its processors with Navi-based graphics silicon too.
But doesn’t AMD already ship processors with GPUs? The voices in my head ask. Yes, its APU strategy goes back well before the inception of the Zen architecture, but these are still specialist chips with very specific price points and usage models.
The benefit of kitting out every one of its CPUs shipping with a graphics component means that it can nail its Intel rivals in the one place that it still holds sway: the raft of business or office-based machines that don’t need or want power-hungry and expensive discrete graphics cards plugged into them.
That might not be the most exciting segment of the industry to PC gamers, but it means a whole lot to Intel.
While Intel might be on the ropes in terms of CPU mindshare, and in terms of actual high-end core counts and performance, its still making bank out of the sheer volume of processors it ships every day, month, and year. There are a lot of IT managers today who might want high performance CPUs, and have looked at dropping Ryzen 5000 chips into their many corporate boxes, but they don’t want the extra expense of having to source a graphics card for each of them too.
Your next upgrade
With a simple integrated GPU baked onto each processor, one that’s capable of outputting video and little else, there will be almost no reason for IT professionals to side with Intel over AMD.
But this is unlikely to happen for a while. We’re still really in the nascent stages of AMD’s Zen 3 generation, with a potential 6nm Zen 3+ design coming in between us and our future 5nm Zen 4 processors. Zen 4 is where we’ll see AMD shift from the AM4 socket that’s been with us since before the first Ryzen chips launched, and to both a new AM5 socket and, according to recent rumours, a 6nm I/O chip at their heart too.
It does have to be emphasised, however, this potential GPU integration for AMD’s future chips is a rumour, not fact. It certainly seems a plausible future for the company’s processors, but it’s also worth remembering that everyone is a dog on the internet.
0.4 pic.twitter.com/LfzC7mWr7mApril 4, 2021
Much of this comes from an AMD roadmap pieced together by pulling a bunch of rumour threads into one more or less coherent visualisation.
Its still an interesting thing to consider, and given the fact that Intel is selling a whole lot more chips into business than AMD is, I’m sure it’s something the red team has considered too.