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Intel Hires Another AMD Veteran To Work On Discrete GPUs

The semiconductor giant continues to hire AMD veterans as it plans to return to the discrete GPU market with its Xe architecture after two prior failed attempts.

Intel has hired another AMD veteran to work on the company's upcoming slate of discrete GPUs.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company confirmed to CRN Thursday that it recently hired Ali Ibrahim, a former senior fellow at AMD, as a vice president within the Intel Architecture, Graphics and Software group and director of platform architecture and engineering for discrete GPUs.

[Related: Ex-Barefoot Networks CEO Leaves Intel Less Than Year After Acquisition]

"We are thrilled that Ali has joined Intel as Vice President, Platform Architecture and Engineering – dGPUs to be part of the exciting Intel Xe graphics journey," said an Intel spokesperson, who did not elaborate on Ibrahim's responsibilities for his new job.

Ibrahim, who started at Intel this month, was previously chief architect for AMD's cloud gaming efforts as well as the system-on-chips, or SoCs, for multiple generations of Microsoft's Xbox video game consoles, including the Xbox One X and upcoming Xbox Series X, according to his LinkedIn profile. He also managed a group of architects focused on SoCs, platforms, security, power and performance.

Over his 13 years at AMD, which Ibrahim left in March, the senior engineer also served as lead architect for client APUs, including the cancelled Skybridge product that combined Arm and x86 CPU cores. For a time he was also the lead power and SoC architect for AMD's discrete GPU technologies.

Intel's hiring of Ibrahim comes as the company continues to work on its new Xe GPU architecture that will mark a return to the discrete graphics card market for Intel after two prior failed attempts. The company has previously said it will use Xe to power the integrated graphics for the upcoming Tiger Lake laptop processors, a discrete graphics card for laptops code-named DG1 and a 7-nanometer data center GPU for high-performance computing and artificial intelligence code-named Ponte Vecchio.

The chipmaker expects more than 50 laptop designs to use Tiger Lake mobile processors for a holiday season launch while the U.S. Department of Energy's planned Aurora supercomputer is expected to go online with Intel's Ponte Vecchio GPUs in 2021. While the company declined to state a release date for DG1 at CES in January, Intel previously said in 2018 that its first discrete GPU would land in 2020.

To fuel development of Intel's new GPU technologies, the company has frequently hired from its top rival in the CPU space, AMD, which develops and sells GPUs for the desktop, laptop, cloud and data center markets. The hiring started with Raja Korduri, AMD's former chief GPU architect who was appointed in 2017 to lead Intel's GPU efforts. Several other AMD veterans have since joined, including former AMD silicon design executive Masooma Bhaiwala, who joined in December.

While Intel has attracted its share of AMD veterans, the reverse has also been happening. Most notably, in January, AMD announced that it had hired former top Intel executive Dan McNamara to lead the rival chipmaker's EPYC server business.

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