Why don’t all AMD processors have a graphics card?

Of course, if you look at the chips of both the PlayStation 5 and those of both Xbox Series, what you will see is that they do not have a low-power integrated graphics, but rather one equivalent to a mid-range one when both consoles came out. Which leads many of us to wonder why we do not see this type of processors used in the PC. Well, all this has an answer that we are going to try to answer in this article.

Differences in system memory between PC and console

In order to save manufacturing costs when creating a console, what is done today is that all the components share the same RAM, instead of making each component have its own memory apart from the main one. So you have to choose one that is good enough for all the components of the system and is not a bottleneck when it comes to generating graphics.

Xbox Ryzen SoC with integrated gaming graphics

Because gaming graphics cards require high-bandwidth video memory to run. When integrating a gaming graphics card into a Ryzen processor we will need to use a suitable type of memory. This is what happens in the consoles that today use the same GDDR6 memory as graphics cards. However, this solution comes with two performance issues:

  • In a graphics card only the GPU accesses the VRAM, in this case there would be much more elements and mainly the CPU and other peripherals. this ccreate a bottleneck or contention. The way to fix this is to allocate part of the system RAM to the processor and part to the graphics card so they don’t conflict.
  • Because GPUs have the ability to mask latency, they are not affected by memories that have slower access times. Instead, to a CPU yes. Same core processor with GDDR6 memory will have worse performance than a processor with DDR4 or DDR5 memory.

As far as performance is concerned, the best system is NUMA for PC, but it is much more expensive and its nature prevents us from creating powerful gaming systems that can be sold on the market for 500 euros or less. This being the key for consoles. On the other hand, on PC nobody would agree to build a computer with a memory that ends up limiting performance.

A special socket is needed for Ryzen with integrated gaming graphics

The Processor Socket is not only where it mounts, it also marks the wiring and intercom. If we wanted to mount an AMD Ryzen with integrated gaming graphics inside, the need to use a faster type of memory would make it necessary to use a different socket.

PS5 Liquid Metal SoC

Not only that, but the increase in bandwidth in the memory interface, as well as the use of a more complex graphics card, imply an increase in TDP and with this, complex cooling systems for the processor should be sought. The main chips of the current consoles consume a lot and you only have to disassemble a PS5 or an Xbox Series to see the extra cost in the cooling system.

So integrating a gaming graphics card into an AMD Ryzen would not only consist of making a larger chip, but also creating all the components around it, starting with the processor socket. Let’s not forget that not everyone who buys a PC needs one that has integrated graphics at the level of a new generation console.

Is the Intinct MI300 a clue to AMD’s future?

During AMD’s last Financial Day, it was made clear that the Instinct MI300 would not only carry CDNA 3 chips, which could not be considered graphics processing units, although their architecture is based on that of a GPU, but also a AMD Ryzen CPU. All this in an interposer where the RAM memory in HBM format will also be placed on top. Of course, this at the level of servers and supercomputers.

The reality is that manufacturing such a composition is extremely expensive. And by that we mean in the orbit of thousands of dollars and with consumption of several hundred watts for the processor and graphics. Gossips claim that we could go to 1000 W for the entire composition, much more than many PCs and even need advanced cooling systems. However, they remind us that it is possible to mount a processor and graphics together on top of the same interposer or just a single chip.

Would it be possible to do it on a small scale?

Having a PC chip like the one on consoles and at the same time not being beaten by Intel Core in CPU-only benchmarks requires the use of HBM2E memory today. We know that HBM3 exists, but we will focus on what is known. The problem that AMD would face when adopting this type of memory? Both our Ryzen with integrated gaming graphics and memory should be mounted on the same Interposer and, therefore, welded to it. So the processor and RAM should be sold as a complete lot.

Radeon Pro 5600M GPU

Of course, this design would need its own board and thus its custom socket, so it wouldn’t help us to replace the processor in our computer’s socket. So in the end it would end up being an embedded system like any other console, but much more expensive, due to the type of memory used and it would not give all the performance that can be achieved with a dedicated graphics card.

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