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Report: Intel May Dump Nvidia, Turn To AMD For Radeon Graphics Licensing (pcworld.com) 124

An anonymous reader quotes a report from PCWorld: Intel could dump Nvidia for a licensing deal with AMD as the chip giant tries to prop up its patent portfolio. Currently, Intel is under a $1.5 billion licensing agreement with Nvidia, which the two companies signed in 2011. At the time, the two companies had spent years fighting each other in courts over patent licensing, and the agreement put all that litigation to rest. Intel's Nvidia deal is set to expire on March 17, 2017, and a recent report by Bloomberg claimed that Intel is now looking to cut a deal with AMD instead.
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Report: Intel May Dump Nvidia, Turn To AMD For Radeon Graphics Licensing

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  • by EzInKy ( 115248 ) on Friday March 25, 2016 @08:04PM (#51779935)

    This pairing makes much more sense then Intel and nVidia.

    • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Friday March 25, 2016 @08:30PM (#51780071)
      This software patent shit is WHY nvidia doesn't have open drivers.
      • by EzInKy ( 115248 )

        Playing that game is what has destined nVidia to lose in the end. Shame they couldn't employ better soothsayers. For some of us it was obvious that openness would win in the end.

        • Playing that game is what has destined nVidia to lose in the end. Shame they couldn't employ better soothsayers. For some of us it was obvious that openness would win in the end.

          Their low-power android GPU line isn't encumbered in the same way. Perhaps they will be able to develop it into a high-power desktop GPU line in the future, using whatever concepts in GeForce aren't under someone else's patents.

      • This software patent shit is WHY nvidia doesn't have open drivers.

        No, it is not.

        Software patents HAVE NOT prevented Intel to assemble an entirely separate team and/or subcontract,
        so that the Linux drivers are a software stack : entirely separate from the Windows one and almost entirely made of free/libre opensource software. (Minus the mini scandal around recent firmware).

        All at the same time as AMD has - in parallel of the old "fglrx" stack - has supported a parallel effort to build an opensource stack, by publishing and providing informations/documentation, and also by

        • Because unlike AMD or Intel, nvidia actually does use a majority of third-party licensed patents that they are not the owners of in both their hardware and software stacks, thus preventing your dream from being reality. They can't just up and say "Here, go use this stuff we don't own nor have permission to redistribute openly!", you silly goose, yet that is exactly what you're expecting them to do.

          • nvidia actually does use a majority of third-party licensed patents that they are not the owners of in both their hardware and software stacks

            The question isn't about their hardware. The hardware could very well be closed or open, that doesn't change the matter of opensource drivers. Nobody is asking nvidia for the VHDL of their chips. Intel's and AMD's hardware are closed too. Very few GPU have open cores in fact (only a few experimental).

            They can't just up and say "Here, go use this stuff we don't own nor have permission to redistribute openly!", you silly goose, yet that is exactly what you're expecting them to do.

            Again, the question is not (necessarily) for Nvidia to publish the source of their whole driver, including the parts that they don't own. That's not a requirement for having an open-source driver. Though it h

    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      Sure, if you care about FOSS support more than you do actually working with games without blowing up. I no longer do. All I care about is that the hardware that I buy is going to give me the best bang for my buck when I play games on my PC, and not blow the fuck up.

      • by EzInKy ( 115248 )

        I care about my hardware and software working together to do what I want, no matter how many iterations of "improvements" they go through.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          software patents makes your hardware more expensive.

  • by orledrat ( 3490981 ) on Friday March 25, 2016 @08:06PM (#51779963)
    THIS is how "switchable graphics" is done. Nvidia, take note!
  • Life Support (Score:5, Interesting)

    by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Friday March 25, 2016 @08:18PM (#51780011)
    AMD might have a bit of an upswing once their new Zen CPUs come out next year, but they'll need to have made some serious strides because they can't afford another Bulldozer.

    My guess is that Intel is hedging and looking for a way to keep AMD around in order to avoid becoming a de facto monopoly in the x86 space, which they'd rather avoid. Give AMD enough cash to keep them upright while Intel continues to rake in big profits.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jimbob6 ( 3996847 )
      Intel already pays AMD a license for the AMD64 architecture.
      in fact there are several cross licensing deals between AMD and Intel.
      AMD isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
      • Re:Life Support (Score:5, Insightful)

        by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Friday March 25, 2016 @09:25PM (#51780277)
        Maybe you should take a look at their financials [amd.com]. This is a company that hasn't had positive net income since 2011. Zen needs to be at least somewhat competitive with Intel's offerings (or they need their GPU business to take a chunk out of NV) or AMD will eventually go bankrupt.

        Their stock price is so low right now that the entire company could be bought for a little over $2 billion if someone were so inclined. Intel makes more quarterly profit than AMD is worth as a company. From a certain perspective they're likely worth more if they closed shop entirely and just collected Intel's licensing fees, but Intel clearly doesn't want it to come to that.
        • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

          AMD will eventually go bankrupt.

          AMD has been in this position before, and Intel has bailed them out several times. Because a single company holding almost all of the market share would be bad, very bad in the eyes of regulators and anything else. One of the reasons that AMD does poorly in the eyes of investors is because unlike nvidia or intel they don't leverage their patents against other companies and generally give it away or via patent sharing. Don't forget that AMD is still recovering from the BS that Intel pulled several years a

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Strange enough, being effectively a monopoly makes your moves watched closely by regulators. But funding the illusion of a competitor frees Intel from the scrutiny.
            In short, when you buy an Intel product, you contribute to AMD's bottom line through muddy agreements in which the amount of money paid to AMD is what is needed to keep AMD alive. With this money AMD can still produce processors, which actually aren't real competition to Intel products, but is good enough for now in the eyes of the regulators.
            May

            • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

              APU's will never beat a GPU/CPU independent configurations, and if you're not gaming the basement priced out intel-all-in-one APU is just fine for every day work. The computer market is very slow here in the west, outside of gaming PC's. However outside of the west, especially in countries like Japan, China and various places in Central/South America or ex-bloc countries in Europe. The PC market is what it was like here back ~20 years ago, just entering it's golden age of cheaper hardware. Especially in

        • The reports so far is Zen is 40% faster than the fastest Piledriver chip (this puts it squarely in i5, possibly i7 territory) with the first two chips being a quad with HT and an octocore with HT. If they get 16 threads for under $250? those chips are gonna sell.

          And do not forget they have a complete and total monopoly on the console market, with both the PS4 and XB1 being full AMD and reports that the new Nintendo NX will be AMD that is gonna give them a HUGE advantage over Nvidia in the gaming sector as

          • In other reports Intel currently seems to have an almost 100% advantage in IPC (Instruction per Clock) over Piledriver.
            Assuming Zen gets that 40% improvement and the clock speeds are roughly the same as Skylake,
            -an Intel quadcore would still win by ~40% over an AMD quadcore
            -but an AMD octacore would beat an Intel quadcore by ~40%, if the application scales well to eight cores.

            So it would depend a lot on the software. But AMD would finally be able to win against the i7 quads with software that scales well to

            • They don't suck that bad. 40% bump will bring them within 2013/2014 haswell i5 46xxx and 47xxx territory. What Skylake has over haswell is integrated wifi, usb type c/thunderbolt3, and compared to AMD raid intel rst and insane power efficiency.

              If AMD can't offer this it is dead and obsolete as OEMs are busy targetting the surface making tablets and hybrids with all these features and 10 hour battery life.

              No one cares about the geek gamers rig.

              • The geek gamer market might have shrinked a bit, but there is still money in it. Besides, the requirements for the architecture are not so different from the server/workstation market. A succesful Zen processor might also work well for small servers.

                • No one will TOUCH a non Intel cpu for a server. Too much risk and a reputation of unreliable for many PHB who remember some of the shitty VIA and nforce chipsets of athlonXP's last decade. Windows Server and Linux are well supported with Intel cpus and chipsets.

                  My point was a fast CPU that is about as fast as 2014 won't cut it for OEM sales if it doesn't support thunderbolt 3 aka USB type c, insane power efficiency, and SOI silicon on a chip features to cut down on size for tablet use.

                  The MS surface is very

                  • Via? Nforce? Uhhh you DO know that those haven't been made in over a decade, yes? Nobody is gonna judge a chip by chipsets that haven't been made in over a decade, if you want to argue that then they will be avoiding Intel over Netburst since that is the same time period we are talking about.

                    What server and workstation buyers DO care about is more threads, as a good 90% of their workloads are heavily parallel and if AMD can put out a 16 thread CPU for under $300 and if reports are correct a 64 thread work

    • This is thought as the rationale for Microsoft to invest in Apple back in the 90s
    • AMD might have a bit of an upswing once their new Zen CPUs come out next year, but they'll need to have made some serious strides because they can't afford another Bulldozer.

      My guess is that Intel is hedging and looking for a way to keep AMD around in order to avoid becoming a de facto monopoly in the x86 space, which they'd rather avoid. Give AMD enough cash to keep them upright while Intel continues to rake in big profits.

      Intel needs a second source, in order to remain a government supplier or as a supplier for large orgs.

  • Stop, do not pass go, you lose 20% of your stock holdings.

  • by jcdr ( 178250 ) on Friday March 25, 2016 @08:28PM (#51780051)

    Probably just a dream, but this could be a very big step forward. The lack of a standard GPU instruction set have paved the way of dozen of different architectures that each consume ressources in support for a very average quality and very few open source one. A GPU architecture as standard and open as CPU would allow to concentrate the ressource on a open and high quality support.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      In the late 90s, intel figured they could change around the instruction set for good performance, if they had good compilers. That didn't work out in reality. However, that DOES work out in 3d graphics. The problem is that the animation people want to do different things, the number of transistors keeps changing, and Microsoft changes around its graphics API and operating system.

      I would like a standardized framebuffer, or something like that.

      • by jcdr ( 178250 )

        You are right that GPU started with architecture where the compiler take all the optimisation decision to allow the higher density of ALU into the GPU. I observe that today GPU tend to have more and more dynamic optimisation in there architecture, and I think this trend will continue. I will not be surprised that a some point in the future the GPU and the CPU will share a subset of the same instruction set. A such architecture will radially simplify the complexity of handling the compilation path for GPU co

    • by trek00 ( 887323 )

      so you kill the innovation, like the x86 standard tied down the CPUs evolution until the born of amd64 instructions set

      you need a standard graphic stack, not locked hardware: even on the same brand, the architecture completely changes quickly as more power and new features needs different technology to be accomplished

      if the graphic stack continues to be supported and compatible, you got no problems (yes this is not the case of ms-windows drivers as they are never updated, like 32 bit devices on 64 bit ms-wi

      • by jcdr ( 178250 )

        Someday the CPU and GPU instruction set need to merge at least in part to allow efficient architecture because there architectures difference will shrink. That don't prevent to extend the instruction set to get more performance. The important point is to not lock the instruction to only a single implementation.

  • Remembering a FreeBSD Radeon KMS hell I'd prefer anything else.

  • do AMD and nVidia have a bunch of overlapping patents that would let Intel slot one in for the other or something? At any rate the one thing AMD does right is integrate graphics, it's just that integrated can never really compete with Discrete. My GPU is mid-range and still has it's own power supply, fans, and cranks heat out back the case...

    Oh, and WTF is up with AMD's stock? It's under $3. Is there something I don't understand here? Their patent portfolio alone makes them worth more than that.
    • by Pulzar ( 81031 )

      Oh, and WTF is up with AMD's stock? It's under $3. Is there something I don't understand here? Their patent portfolio alone makes them worth more than that.

      They've got several billion dollars of debt, which negates much of what they have on the positive side.

      • with a few clever legal tricks and the value of the company plundered. I'm surprised nobody is doing this. I've heard Intel keeps them around for 'competition' so they don't get a real lawsuit. Microsoft might prop them up too. But right now they look primed to be 'Bained'. I guess it depends on who they owe money too though.
    • It's that low because the company hasn't been profitable in years. Their patent portfolio is likely worth more on its own, but the rest of AMD that bleeds money that's attached to that patent portfolio isn't worth anything at the moment. Maybe that changes and they can be competitive again with their new CPU architecture, but they're about $2 billion in debt right now so they've got a lot of work to do in order to get back into a good place.
  • Report: Intel May Dump Nvidia, Turn To AMD For Radeon Graphics Licensing

    Gonna be pretty hard securing Radeon licensing from nVidia... maybe they should have considered switching way sooner.

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