We'd all love to own multiple high-end GPUs configured in a quad-SLI/CrossFireX configuration, but the majority of folk settle on much more pedestrian parts. If you're a discrete graphics chip maker, the real money is in the entry-level, but for how long?
According to Fudzilla, "most analysts predict that by 2012 the entry level discrete graphics [market] will be mostly gone." That's a bold claim , and to back it up, analysts point out the current shift towards integrating graphics onto CPUs. Upcoming parts like Intel's Sandy Bridge architecture, for example, represent the next evolution of integrated graphics. This is especially true in the notebook world, a segment that continues to steal the spotlight from the desktop.
"The first benchmark results are telling us that Sandy Bridge graphics are enough to replace current Nvidia and AMD entry level series graphics. It is still somewhat slower, but competitive nonetheless," Fudzilla says.
Still, will the shift be enough to destroy the entry-level discrete graphics market? We have our doubts. Moving graphics onto the CPU core isn't a ton different than picking up a motherboard with integrated graphics, albeit a CPU/GPU is admittedly more flexible. Still, we see budget discrete graphics getting more powerful rather than falling off the radar.
What do you think? Will Sandy Bridge and upcoming Fusion chips kill the entry-level discrete graphics market, or can the two co-exist? Sound off in the comments section below!