CES 2022: Intel enters graphics chips market to challenge heavyweights AMD, Nvidia

Intel announced that it has already shipped the new chips to partners like Lenovo, Dell's Alienware and Gigabyte, among others. PHOTO: REUTERS

LAS VEGAS - American chipmaker Intel is making its first foray into the dedicated graphics card market currently dominated by rivals Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Nvidia with the launch of its own Intel Arc graphics chips.

In a press conference on Tuesday (Jan 4) at CES 2022, the latest edition of the world's biggest tech show, Intel announced that it has already shipped the new chips to partners like Lenovo, Dell's Alienware and Gigabyte, among others.

This shipment will soon bring over 50 gaming-oriented laptop and desktop Intel Arc graphics cards to the market

Intel did not provide details of when the first PCs with the new chip will ship and the specifications or models of Intel Arc cards that will eventually be launched.

Intel, best known for its central processing units (CPUs), also announced about 50 new models of its 12th-generation Intel Core CPUs for desktops and laptops.

Last year (2021), Intel announced plans to invest over US$44 billion (S$60 billion) in expanding its chip manufacturing plants in the United States and elsewhere to address the ongoing global chip shortage, and catch up with rival foundries TSMC and Samsung.

Mr Gregory Bryant, Intel's executive vice-president, said on Tuesday that the new laptop chips are up to 40 per cent faster than the previous generation.

He claimed Intel's new top-end Core i9-12900HK is the most powerful laptop CPU made and can even outperform the likes of AMD's 5900HX and Apple's M1 Max.

Earlier on Tuesday morning, AMD announced its new Ryzen 6000 line of laptop CPUs.

Its chief executive and president, Dr Lisa Su, said the new chips have twice the graphics processing power of the previous-generation Ryzen 5000 series.

They also incorporate AMD's RDNA2 graphics architecture in an integrated laptop graphics chip for the first time, which removes the need for users to add a separate mobile graphics card.

The RDNA2 technology is also used in current-generation gaming consoles such as Sony's PlayStation 5 and Microsoft's Xbox Series X and S, as well as AMD's own Radeon RX 6000 series of dedicated graphics cards.

AMD's Dr Su said most modern games will run smoothly on the Ryzen 6000 series at a 1080p resolution.

The Ryzen 6000 series of laptop processors are also the first to integrate the Microsoft Pluton security chip, which has been used in Xbox consoles since at least 2013.

The addition of the Pluton chip will boost the defences of Window PCs using Ryzen 6000 CPUs against emerging security threats by protecting critical data such as system credentials, user identities, encryption keys and personal information, Dr Su added.

Meanwhile, Nvidia senior vice-president Jeff Fisher revealed its beefiest desktop graphics card yet, the GeForce RTX 3090 Ti, which is an upgraded version of its top-of-the-line RTX 3090 launched in 2020.

Boasting 40 teraflops of graphics procession power, the RTX 3090 Ti is theoretically about 11 per cent faster than the RTX 3090's 36 teraflops.

Nvidia did not reveal the new card's price, but it will likely be higher than the RTX 3090's launch price of US$1,499.

For entry-level users, Mr Fisher also revealed the budget-friendly RTX 3050 desktop card, which will go on sale worldwide for about US$249 from Jan 27.

He also announced laptop variants of the RTX 3070 Ti and RTX 3080 Ti cards, which promise to top the performance of Nvidia's desktop cards from the generation before the current RTX 3000 series.

RTX 3070 Ti laptops will start at US$1,499 and RTX 3080 Ti laptops will start at US$2,499 when they go on sale next month.

Join ST's Telegram channel here and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.