No End in Sight for Discrete GPUs

By Nicole Hemsoth

September 12, 2011

Noted technology researcher, Jon Peddie recently published an analysis of the GPU market, noting that the “discrete GPU is alive and thriving.” Using the famous quote from Mark Twain, “reports of my death are greatly exaggerated” he goes on to explain how misconceptions about market evolution are leading to some false ideas about the future of discrete GPUs.

He claims that “although the popular press and some analysts would like to believe otherwise, there’s a simple truth in the [GPU] business: You can’t get the same level of performance from integrated graphics as you can from a discrete GPU. It’s a matter of basic physics.”

Peedie echoes a question often asked elsewhere, “how could a Fusion or Sandy Bridge CPU even come close to the performance of a discrete GPU?” His argument is that embedded graphics processors are highly unlikely to replace discrete GPUs anytime soon, noting that while integrated graphics are great for graphics-based applications, they are not able to deliver the power needed for heavier tools, including CAD rendering.

As he report details, “as good as integrated graphics are, and they can be very good, they can’t match the dGPUs’ raw performance.” He says that while integrated graphics are fine for running graphics-based applications, too often people “leap to the conclusion that integrated graphics will surpass and replace discrete graphics as part of the natural evolution of Moore’s Law.”

“The facts speak for themselves. Those who are concerned about graphics performance will buy discrete GPU systems. As good as they are, embedded graphics processors will never be a replacement for a powerful discrete GPU,” the analyst explained in a recently published report.

He goes on to note:

“Discrete GPUs have, and will continue to hold, a multi-year lead over integrated graphics, and software applications and operating systems aren’t standing still. Therefore, the notion that the evolution of integration spells the end of discrete GPUs just isn’t founded.”


Peedie feels that when it comes to the market for discrete GPUs, NVIDIA is the clear leader, with no sense that it is facing attack from integrated parts.

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