No, Intel is not putting Radeons in its CPUs


— 9:30 AM on May 18, 2017

If you keep up with technology news at all, you've probably heard a rumor over the last few months that Intel is licensing, or planning to license, AMD graphics technology for use in its IGPs. The idea seems to have had its genesis in a forum post on HardOCP, and it didn't take long for other sites to pick it up and run with it. Giving further energy to the rumor is the fact that Intel made its final payment to Nvidia as part of a lawsuit-settling patent-licensing agreement this March.

We now know that rumor is simply incorrect. In a statement given to Barron's Tech Trader Daily column, Intel explicitly says that "the recent rumors that [it] has licensed AMD's graphics technology are untrue." AMD stock gained as much as 12% on renewed reports of the rumor, and when no such deal was announced at the company's financial analyst day Tuesday, that gain was quickly reversed.

A few sources guessed that the rumor made sense because the Intel-Nvidia patent-licensing agreement was coming to an end. Upon actually reading the Nvidia document it clearly states that the licensing agreement continues until the patents expire. As explained by Mark Hibben over at SeekingAlpha, that effectively means that Intel has full use of Nvidia's relevant patents into perpetuity, and that means Intel has no reason to license graphics patents from anyone else. Besides, Intel has its own mature graphics technology with excellent power consumption characteristics.

Allowing Intel to stick Radeon graphics into its CPUs could have provided AMD with some much-needed short-term capital, but the idea seemed far-fetched to begin with. No Intel CPU ever shipped with Nvidia graphics tech on board over the course of those companies' agreement, and any new licensing agreement would likely only exist to protect Intel from legal action. Furthermore, AMD needs to move Ryzen chips into high-volume laptops and desktops. Touting the potentially superior graphics performance of Vega-powered APUs is a path to positive press and potential future sales for AMD, and giving its largest competitor access to that graphics IP would seem to erode the red team's competitive position. In any case, we think we can consign this myth to the "busted" pile.

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