Sources familiar with the matter have reported to Taiwan’s Commercial Times that Intel has placed significant production orders with TSMC for its upcoming Battlemage graphics processing units and subsequent Celestial architecture GPUs.
The report includes details on the production processes, timing, and volume, which indicate that TSMC will continue to play a crucial role in manufacturing advanced processors for Intel. This news is significant for both companies, as it highlights a potentially lucrative partnership and exciting developments in GPU technology on the horizon.
There is room for interpretation regarding the success of Intel’s initial consumer GPU release. The Intel Arc Alchemist graphics cards, which utilized TSMC 6nm silicon, faced significant delays upon their debut. Despite this, they are currently widely accessible and are being offered at substantial discounts to facilitate sales.
Reviews suggest that Intel’s entrance into the GPU market has given enthusiasts a third choice, allowing them to make informed decisions instead of blindly following brand loyalty. Moreover, the driver team has exceeded expectations by providing frequent and high-quality updates in recent months.
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For those curious about the release dates of Intel’s upcoming GPU generations, recent reports from insiders suggest that the second-generation Battlemage graphics chip, utilizing Xe2 architecture, is set to launch in the latter half of 2024. Meanwhile, the third-generation Celestial graphics chip, which will operate on the Xe3 architecture, is planned for release in the latter half of 2026. These sources have also revealed that TSMC will be responsible for manufacturing the Battlemage GPUs using the 4nm process, while the Celestial GPUs will be built using TSMC’s 3nm process.
Although some individuals are pessimistic about Intel’s future, and the departure of Raja Koduri may cause concern, according to insiders at the Commercial Times, Intel has a positive outlook on the graphics market due to an apparent demand for graphics. The gaming and eSports industries are in need of more graphics accelerators to support AI and other complex tasks, leading to a growing demand for such products in businesses and enterprises. This trend presents an opportunity for Intel to expand in the graphics market.
In a recent interview, Intel Fellow Tom Peterson acknowledged past mistakes with Alchemist and discussed the development of the second-generation Battlemage, which will only focus on two specific microarchitectures (Xe2-LPG and Xe2-HPG) instead of four in the previous generation. This approach aims to simplify driver development, reduce delays, and lower costs.
Intel faces a significant challenge in filling the gap until the possible release of Battlemage in the second half of 2024, as new products from competitors AMD and Nvidia will likely be introduced. In order to stay competitive, Intel’s team responsible for drivers must work diligently to enhance the performance of their current hardware through regular updates and fine-tuning. It will help ensure buyers are not concerned about the drivers when Battlemage is ultimately launched, as the team will have already optimized them.
Moreover, Intel must also focus on ensuring that its current graphics cards remain relevant and competitive in the market. Attracting potential buyers will require consistent updates, performance improvements, and competitive pricing. In addition, Intel must ensure its drivers are user-friendly and easy to install to prevent user complications. By addressing these areas, Intel can build a strong reputation for its graphics cards, which will be beneficial when Battlemage is released.
Furthermore, Intel should also focus on expanding its customer base beyond gamers and enthusiasts to include business and enterprise customers. The demand for AI accelerators and other intensive computing tasks is growing, and Intel can leverage this opportunity to expand its market share. To do so, Intel needs to develop GPUs that cater to the unique needs of enterprise customers and provide reliable and efficient performance.
While the release of Battlemage is still a few years away, Intel must remain focused on improving the performance of its current graphics cards, making them more user-friendly, and expanding its customer base to include enterprise customers. By addressing these areas, Intel can ensure that it remains competitive in the market and can successfully launch Battlemage when the time comes.