Chipmakers soon will deliver one of biggest advances in years in the technology that powers laptop and desktop computers. But how much consumers and the chip companies will benefit is in question, says a feature in the Wall Street Journal.
The design trend, expected to be the focus of announcements by Intel Corp. (INTC) and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) at the Consumer Electronics Show early next month, is based on bringing together two long-separate classes of products: microprocessors, the calculating engines that run most PC software; and graphics processing units, which render images in videogames and other programs, the article says.
Putting the two technologies on one piece of silicon reduces the distance electrical signals must travel and speeds up some computing chores. It also lowers the number of components computer makers need to buy, cutting production costs and helping to shrink the size of computers. Such integrated chips are expected to allow low-priced systems to carry out tasks that currently add hundreds of dollars to the price of a personal computer, such as the ability to play high-definition movies and videogames and to convert video and audio files to different formats quickly.