VR-ready laptops to become thinner and lighter

Published 09 January 2018

Posted by Greg Corke

Article tagged with: amd, gpu, intel, cpu, vr, mobile workstation

Intel shrinks processor by combining Intel Core CPU and AMD Radeon Vega GPU in a single package

Powerful 3D laptops and 2-in-1s are set to become thinner and lighter (and desktop PCs smaller) thanks to a new Intel technology that combines an Intel Core CPU and an AMD Radeon Vega GPU in a single package.

The new 8th Gen Intel Core processor with Radeon RX Vega M Graphics features a semi-custom AMD graphics chip with fast HBM2 memory that is powerful enough for 3D games and VR. The CPU and GPU communicate with each other at high-speed thanks to Intel’s EMIB interconnect technology.

By having CPU and GPU in a single package, Intel is not only able to boost performance per watt but reduce the physical size and depth of the chip. According to Intel, the silicon footprint is less than half that of standard discrete components on a motherboard.

The new chip should lead to thinner laptops and 2-in-1s with similar levels of 3D performance to traditional gaming laptops. According to Intel, many 3-year-old systems weigh nearly 7 pounds, last a mere four hours and are more than 32 mm thick. With this new processor, enthusiast devices are slimmed to under 17 mm and can run up to eight hours.

HP and Dell have already announced 2-in-1s built around the new technology while Intel has unveiled a VR-capable mini PC.

Intel with Radeon Graphics is currently focused on gamers and content creators. However, those hoping the technology will soon lead to more powerful slimline mobile workstations and mini desktop workstations are likely to be disappointed. An AMD spokesperson told DEVELOP3D that the deal between Intel and AMD does not include access to AMD’s Radeon Pro driver, which is essential for the optimisation and certification of CAD and other professional 3D applications.

This doesn’t mean that Intel with Radeon Graphics is not applicable to design, engineering and architecture firms. Those that want to extend the reach of 3D data beyond the design office will need to make sure staff are equipped with the right hardware in order to view it.

The construction sector, in particular, has seen a big growth in ‘game engine’ real time viz and VR applications. A new generation of laptop that can not only view this demanding 3D content but is portable enough for daily business use is sure to appeal to managers, clients and other construction professionals.

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