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Intel has entered the GPU market in full force, partnering with AMD and making a bold executive hire, pitting it directly against Nvidia.

The chipmaker’s big push on the graphics processing (GPU) front was recently signalled by the announcement of a partnership with its long-time rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). Days later, Intel made the bold move of hiring Raja Koduri, former Senior Vice President and Chief Architect of AMD’s Radeon Technologies Group, known for its high-end graphics cards. Koduri will lead Intel’s newly formed Core and Visual Computing Group in the same role, and also serve as General Manager of a new initiative focused on edge computing solutions.

Koduri is renowned in the graphics processing field, having led the development of AMD’s Radeon GPU since 2001 and previously worked on the graphics sub-system of Apple’s Mac product line. “Koduri will expand Intel’s leading position in integrated graphics for the PC market with high-end discrete graphics solutions for a broad range of computing segments”, Intel said in a statement. Koduri will also work on expanding the tech giant’s research in artificial intelligence and data centre technology.

Intel’s new executive hire is game-changing, as it positions Intel to become a formidable competitor in the high-end GPU market, currently dominated by AMD and Nvidia. The chips were originally designed for gaming and are increasingly being used in data centres as well as artificial intelligence applications. Intel already develops integrated graphics for its CPUs, but they are not in the same high-performance class with AMD and Nvidia’s GPU products. With Koduri on board, this could change very soon.

“We have exciting plans to aggressively expand our computing and graphics capabilities”, said Intel's Chief Engineering Officer, Murthy Renduchintala. “With Raja at the helm of our Core and Visual Computing Group, we will add to our portfolio of unmatched capabilities, advance our strategy to lead in computing and graphics, and ultimately be the driving force of the data revolution.”

Intel’s new executive hire may or may not be related to its partnership with AMD, the purpose of which is to develop an ultra-thin device module using an Intel processor and AMD’s Radeon GPU. The details are still unfolding as of this writing. What is clear is that, together or independently, the two companies are bent on overtaking Nvidia, the current frontrunner in the high-end GPU market, which is red hot. As Business Insider notes, “The growing adoption of artificial intelligence systems has led to an explosion in demand for the chips”.

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