Wednesday, November 8th 2017

Intel Hires Raja Koduri, to Develop Discrete GPUs, This Time for Real

Intel hired Raja Koduri, who resigned as head of AMD's Radeon Technologies Group (RTG), earlier this week. Koduri has been made Senior Vice President and Chief Architect of Intel's future discrete GPUs. That's right, Intel has renewed its dreams to power high-end graphics cards that compete with AMD and NVIDIA. Intel's last attempt at a discrete GPU was "Larrabee," which evolved into a super-scalar multi-core processor for HPC applications under the Xeon Phi line.

This development heralds two major theories. One, that Intel's collaboration with AMD RTG on graphics IP could only go further from here, and what is a multi-chip module of Intel and AMD IP now, could in the future become a true heterogeneous die of Intel's and AMD's IP. Two, that the consolidation of AMD's graphics assets and IP into a monolithic entity as RTG, could make it easier to sell it lock, stock, and barrel, possibly to Intel.
Intel places great faith in Koduri's ability to either develop a major product line from scratch, or to effect tectonic shifts in the industry, such as Apple's transition to the x86 architecture for its Mac product line.

Intel could have one of three approaches to build a discrete GPU from scratch. The first and most obvious one would be to scale up its current gen 9.5 architecture. The trouble is, that Intel's SIMD parallelism is more transistor-heavy than even NVIDIA. It takes roughly 400-500 million transistors (coarse estimate) on the "Kaby Lake" die to build a GPU with 24 execution units. With 10 billion transistors, we're looking at around 480 execution units, if not more.

The second approach would be to build a new graphics architecture from scratch. Something like this, even with Intel's deep R&D pockets, could take a team led by Koduri 3-4 years. The resulting architecture has to relevant to the market of the time, or end up missing the bus like Larrabee. The third approach would be to either license or acquire GPU IP from AMD. Koduri has the reputation of a tech business strategist as much as an IP guru to effect such a change.

These are strange times in the vale, as silicon giants Broadcom and Qualcomm look to coalesce into the world's third largest chipmaker, and Marvell with Cavium follow on. Stranger things are currently happening between past industry rivals, than the possibility of Intel acquiring RTG from AMD in exchange for cash, and allowing AMD's merger with another chipmaker without affecting its x86 license. This is just a really audacious theory.
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71 Comments on Intel Hires Raja Koduri, to Develop Discrete GPUs, This Time for Real

#1
EarthDog
He left 40 days ago on his sabbatical, not 4 months ago... and is starting in December. I can't imagine he has 4 months vacation after working here for 4 years... but I could be wrong. I just doubt that is all.
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#2
trparky
What does California have anything to do with anything?
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#3
EarthDog
https://www.google.com/search?q=California+non+compete+laws&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS767US767&oq=California+non+compete+laws&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l4.4157j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
Non-Compete Agreements are Void in California. In most other states, “reasonable”non-compete agreements are enforceable. Practically speaking, this means that employers and employees cannot determine whether a particular non-competeagreement is enforceable without a costly legal battle.
Both companies are based out of......................... Cali. :)
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#4
trparky
What hairbrained jackass thought up that bunch of bullshit?
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#5
natr0n
trparky said:
What hairbrained jackass thought up that bunch of bullshit?
Hollywood lawyers perhaps.
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#6
ZoneDymo
I do wonder though how this works, I mean mr Raja knows everything about AMD's tech and he now just goes to Intel.

Unless AMD can easily find its own tech and its patented, would this not be grounds for some sort of lawsuit?
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#7
cap87
ZoneDymo said:
I do wonder though how this works, I mean mr Raja knows everything about AMD's tech and he now just goes to Intel.

Unless AMD can easily find its own tech and its patented, would this not be grounds for some sort of lawsuit?
Even if they did, Intel has the resources to fight it so it's not really a problem. I'm sure they've have already laid the groundwork for Raja. Exciting times incoming that's for sure.
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#8
KainXS
Holy Hell, I really thought Raja was jumping ship to go do that film stuff but now he's in bed with Intel.

Lisa Su must be pissed.
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#9
efikkan
AMD's graphics division is in big trouble, and Raja knows very well what lies ahead the next 2-3 years.

It's like rats fleeing a sinking ship.
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#10
2901BitSlice
iO said:
The big question is how many engineers of RTG are going to follow him to Intel. Just a few missing key people could f**k up AMDs competitiveness even more...
iO I would imagine that Raja's new boss has already told him him to go easy on that stuff for the time being. Remember Intel still has its deal with AMD for the GPU Chiplets that they want to keep intacted. So I would not expect any massive raid on RTG's personnel. Typically the rule is let the party from AMD make the first contact.

What I find more than a little curious is out of all the youtube channels covering tech and the computer biz none of them are talking about this aspect of these events. It would seem to me one of Raja's most perishable values right now for Intel is that of liason with the staffs of the RTG and Semi Custom Division. That is a real important asset now that AMD will be supplying hardware to Intel. Raja has the AMD Telephone Directory and Organization Layout of the place. He is just the guy for Intel to go to if they experience any problems as Raja will know who exactly to call. I was really surprised when Intel blew the trumpets and read from the scroll Raja's new title and responsibilities in such a public fashion so soon. Obviously Raja will now have to take it easy with the phone calls to his old employer.

With Intel I would imagine its first things first and that means get this new project rolling which should take too long. Maybe 6 to 9 months. Then they go big guns on the Discrete GPU Project.

If any operation is going to have its staff raided its going to be NVIDIA. Both Intel and AMD have their eye on them at this point. I would expect some major doings in January.
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#11
2901BitSlice
KainXS said:
Holy Hell, I really thought Raja was jumping ship to go do that film stuff but now he's in bed with Intel.

Lisa Su must be pissed.
That's why Boards of Directors and Senior Staff Meet.

No doubt they will change plans where feasible.

Is it inconvenient ? Yes

Is it essential ? Also yes

These things happen. Lisa and the Staff will just have to deal with it. It's called strategic planning.
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#12
2901BitSlice
Jermelescu said:
I'm not denying that there are some great folks working at RTG, but I believe that the firm needs a very capable guy to lead the big bounce back to take the lead in performance & efficiency and even if I'm an AMD fanboy myself I sincerely doubt Navi will be a game changer.
Jermelescu that is not how hires are made on that level.. Hiring of the Top Level Hot Shots like Koduri are carefully considered over extended periods of time by Senior Staff in consultation with the Board of Directors. Those guys always develop in their minds a short list wish list of Hot Talent that would be an asset to "The Firm". When one becomes available they make a decision. If its in the affirmative they pounce and that's what Intel did with Raja.

Guys like Raja and Jim Keller are Hard Chargers. They are extremely focused on a task and when that task comes to a conclusion they move on. Their term of service in any one gig is rarely more than 5 years and can be as short as 2 years. The fact that Raja left so abruptly is viewed by Senior Management as an opportunity. This is why Lisa was appointed as Interim Department Head. You can bet she is assessing what is going on in that department and making notes about what needs to be addressed. You can also expect that as time progresses Lisa will step away and some young hot shot who is gunning for a promotion will be given a 'Delegation of Authority" to evaluate whether he can handle the job. The way they can rescind the delegation without causing to much of a mess.

I would not be surprised if AMD is eyeing up Jim Keller again. He has a very good record with AMD and is 2 years into his current gig. I doubt he will last more than 3 more years with Tesla. So things may have to cook for a year or two. Maybe someone gets promoted to fill the hole left by Raja. Jim becomes available a year or two down the road and the AMD Technical Staff is restructured.

Who knows ?
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#13
EarthDog
Please merge your posts... double/triple posting is against the tules here bud. :)
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#14
Nephilim666
Intel want the consoles. PC gamers are pocket change by comparison.
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#15
2901BitSlice
Nephilim666 said:
Intel want the consoles. PC gamers are pocket change by comparison.
Do you know the margin figures that AMD gains for XBox and Playstations chipsets ?
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#16
Nephilim666
2901BitSlice said:
Do you know the margin figures that AMD gains for XBox and Playstations chipsets ?
Yeah because they openly share that information /s
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#17
cadaveca
My name is Dave
Nephilim666 said:
Yeah because they openly share that information /s
you can easily figure it out... both Sony and MS have been pretty open about how much a console is costing them in total. Plus, if you've been in this game for long enough, you know almost exactly how much a slice of silicon goes for.

ZoneDymo said:
I do wonder though how this works, I mean mr Raja knows everything about AMD's tech and he now just goes to Intel.

Unless AMD can easily find its own tech and its patented, would this not be grounds for some sort of lawsuit?
AMD will simply watch what Intel does, and should thing infringe on their patents, they'll let it slide until Intel has made some money, then they'll sue for that exact figure Intel made (as they calculate it). This is hardly anything new in this industry.

Nephilim666 said:
Intel want the consoles. PC gamers are pocket change by comparison.
What you are trying to say is that that STX-form-factor board we've seen recently is the new dev platform for the new consoles? Yeah, probably likely, and if it is, AMD isn't really going to take much if any losses on that switch since their hardware is still present. This may actually benefit them, since they don't exactly make the chips for the consoles, do they? I mean, they sold designs, right?
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#18
2901BitSlice
Nephilim666 said:
Yeah because they openly share that information /s
..... because if you did you would know the profit margin to supply chipsets for gaming consoles is ridiculously small. Approaching Grocery Store margins. NVIDIA wanted in on XBox and Playstation but they weren't willing to supply Microsoft and Sony at the price they were willing to pay. AMD jumped in not because there was a great deal of money to be made but because the Gaming Console Market is a point of entry for Gamers. AMD wanted the Software Writers writing for AMD Hardware. As an economic endeavor Gaming Consoles are a loser. The puny margins AMD reaps from consoles kills its ASP Figures which is one of the key metrics Stock Market Analysts look at when assessing a company's financial outlook. The money is at the top of the market as Jensen Huang has showed us. AMD GPU Cards Tower over everything else in the market when it comes to price-to-performance. But if you are as clever a marketer as Jensen Huang you can get people to throw out their old cards and spend 700 to 1200 Dollars to purchase a new one every 2 years for an increase of 5% in performance. That is why NVIDIA has grown so rich. But sooner or later every Gravy Train eventual comes to and end. And NVIDIA is about to lose its discrete GPU dominance. Not because it was beaten technologically but because the market vanished

Let no mistake be made the Really Money in the computer business lies in Enterprise/Data Center Sector. And right now only AMD can offer both an x86 CPU Platform (Epyc) along with a Compute Card GPU that can rival anything available. (Vega) Intel snatched up Raja and no doubt will develop their own discrete GPU but that will take time. In the mean time AMD will release Navi accelerating NVIDIA's departure. As of Q2 the sale of GPUs accounted for 60% of NVIDIA's revenue. AI and Autonomous Driving was about 15% each. Gaming hardware sales amounts to almost nothing and even that is fading like a tan with the growth of Online Gaming.
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#19
Jism
The revenue for each APU for AMD is approx 1$. So if sony, ms sells like each a bunch of million consoles, it equals one dollar per sold console.

Raja leaving AMD is'nt bad news at all. AMD still has a few key players such as someone who was on lead on the development of the Cell CPU which was known in the PS3. That CPU could push big numbers compared to X86 and was pretty decent on a console too. Widely used into folding (complete DC's stacked with PS3's). They set the base for Navi, now it's time for raja to go.
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#20
lexluthermiester
xkm1948 said:
Intel + RTG (ATi)

AMD + nVidia

This is gonna be awesome
That's an interesting thought. HAS THE WORLD GONE MAD? :kookoo: :twitch: :wtf: :laugh:
Posted on Reply
#21
cap87
2901BitSlice said:
..... because if you did you would know the profit margin to supply chipsets for gaming consoles is ridiculously small. Approaching Grocery Store margins. NVIDIA wanted in on XBox and Playstation but they weren't willing to supply Microsoft and Sony at the price they were willing to pay. AMD jumped in not because there was a great deal of money to be made but because the Gaming Console Market is a point of entry for Gamers. AMD wanted the Software Writers writing for AMD Hardware. As an economic endeavor Gaming Consoles are a loser. The puny margins AMD reaps from consoles kills its ASP Figures which is one of the key metrics Stock Market Analysts look at when assessing a company's financial outlook. The money is at the top of the market as Jensen Huang has showed us. AMD GPU Cards Tower over everything else in the market when it comes to price-to-performance. But if you are as clever a marketer as Jensen Huang you can get people to throw out their old cards and spend 700 to 1200 Dollars to purchase a new one every 2 years for an increase of 5% in performance. That is why NVIDIA has grown so rich. But sooner or later every Gravy Train eventual comes to and end. And NVIDIA is about to lose its discrete GPU dominance. Not because it was beaten technologically but because the market vanished

Let no mistake be made the Really Money in the computer business lies in Enterprise/Data Center Sector. And right now only AMD can offer both an x86 CPU Platform (Epyc) along with a Compute Card GPU that can rival anything available. (Vega) Intel snatched up Raja and no doubt will develop their own discrete GPU but that will take time. In the mean time AMD will release Navi accelerating NVIDIA's departure. As of Q2 the sale of GPUs accounted for 60% of NVIDIA's revenue. AI and Autonomous Driving was about 15% each. Gaming hardware sales amounts to almost nothing and even that is fading like a tan with the growth of Online Gaming.
NVIDIA is doing just fine in that sector contrary to what other might want to believe. You just have to read the news to know how many companies around the world are already employing their GPU's in everything AI related and that boom isn't ending any time soon. AMD got to the party way too late and is only now catching up but that's already a two year disadvantage besides hardware is nothing without a good platform and NVIDIA is way ahead of AMD in both TensorFlow and their own CUDA libraries so having an APU like offering is needless as they're already working with ARM cores and IBM's POWER9 but it wouldn't be unrealistic to expect them to be developing their own flavored SOC. Epyc is indeed an interesting product but it'll take at least another 18 months for it to start making a decent impact, Intel's got a monopoly over that segment and Qualcomm has already been attacking that market for a while and Windows 10 has already been ported so there's something going on there.
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