If you haven’t kept up with my Twitter, I regret to inform you that I’ve been bought off by Intel. I was flown off to San Francisco to attend the Intel Odyssey event. This is the marketing event for the new Intel Gen 11 hardware. Everyone who’s anyone was here at the event. But I’m sure there are already tons of articles posted by all the outlets so I’m not going to bore you with those repetitive details. Instead of that I’d like to report to you the general vibe of the event and my no bullshit assessment of the messaging I got feed by the marketing.
They paid for my flight, hotel stay, GDC Expo Plus pass and everything except for personal purchases and some going out to eat I did with people. I don’t feel indebted to them in the least for this. I’m grateful for this opportunity but any company could have done this for me, and I would have accepted it. The kicker is that I didn’t even ask for this, I just interacted with the Intel Graphics team so much that things just happened.
Why me, why us?
Why would a big company like Intel decide to interact with a website like The Chip Collective and The Silicon Gang community? Why would I acquiesce to being used by a tech behemoth? How can I ignore the feeling that Intel was parading around Sai and my dopey friends? Why am I attributing so much meaning to something in reality so meaningless? Mental illness has a lot to do with this perception issue that I’m currently having. While writing this shit excuse for an article I’ve been experiencing a wide range of emotions – mostly negative. I feel like I’m an unpaid marketing team and the only reason I’m finally feeling like I’m able to finish writing it is that I’m disabling my filter and am just going to write what comes to me.
The long and short of it is that Intel Graphics wants to dedicate themselves to be a massive third player in the graphics space. We aren’t just talking being a low-end player either. Intel Graphics wants to raise the bar for the low-end integrated market while at the same time taking notes and applying that knowledge to their expansion into dedicated graphics. Intel is going to seriously consider any community feedback and roll that in to features and updates. With community events ranging from Reddit AYAs to the official Intel Graphics Discord along with in-app feedback support for the Intel Graphics Command Center (coming soon) it really looks like Intel is backing up the claim of more direct community involvement.
How do I feel about the Intel Gen 11 Graphics?
Neutral is how I feel about what I’ve been told about Intel Gen 11 Graphics. I haven’t touched any hardware that has it yet but going off leaked benchmarks shows a very impressive improvement in performance. A forward march of performance is literally the only acceptable practice. Considering how quickly all of this is going for Intel I wouldn’t be surprised if the Gen 11 hardware itself only had minimal influence from the Odyssey initiative but don’t quote me on that, surprises are nice. Integrated graphics are the thing that Intel has a corner of the market on by default with each CPU sold. Most of us high end enthusiasts turn that crap off on our systems in the UEFI, especially if we overclock. The reason for that is simple really, we already have higher end hardware so why even bother with electrically enabling a part of the CPU that is clearly inferior? Personally, I’d like that to change in the future with better gating off of parts of the chip so possibly only the video encode section is powered up, so I don’t take away GPU power when I’m recording a game or something. Annoyingly I haven’t heard anything about advances to Quick Sync.
Desktop integrated graphics isn’t something that I’m all that excited about. The excitement I do have is for the sub $800 laptop segment and the possibility of being able to actually play modern games on a fairly priced laptop. Nvidia Optimus is a flakey piece of shit at the best of times and on the AMD side of things I just don’t consider mobile Ryzen a contender because it always needs a separate GPU. Side tangent really quick – I have no idea why AMD can’t do an IGPU the same way Intel has in the past, especially now with chiplets being their big thing.
The people of Intel
I’ve meet so many people at this event that I thought I’d never meet in person. Does this cloud my impartiality? Yes. The internet has a way of dehumanizing people and organizations and I feel as though this is what leads to the straight up vitriol thrown around the computer hardware enthusiast community. These are real people with real passion for what they are doing. They don’t see things as us vs them due to them knowing their place in the graphics space. Lisa Pearce has been doing the Intel Graphics thing for over 20 years and the passion she has for this is palpable. Of course, we have Raja and Jim Keller as big figureheads. Raja definitely seems like he is being carted around and cared for by Intel. There is also Chris Pirillo who very recently joined Intel to help with the Odyssey and community relations. If you can look past the brightly shining new hires and focus on the core team members plus the thousands of engineers Intel has to dedicate to this venture, it’s hard to deny what they are capable of.
What does this mean for The Chip Collective?
At best I hope I am able to use the networking I’ve done at this event to get hardware to review or test early and provide feedback on. This doesn’t make us an Intel paid for shill outlet at all. When your editor in chief (me) lives on a fixed income and doesn’t have a reliable means of income due to his mental illness, basically you take anything you can get from where ever you can get it from. I’m not scared to bite the hand that feeds - It’s safer and less anxious without having that hovering above my head.