Intel, Synopsys set for trademark battle

Intel, Synopsys set for trademark battle

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Intel has appeared to register the name Arc as a trademark for its discrete graphics chip, putting it on a collision course with Synopsys which owns the registered trademark.

The ARC processor started life as the Argonaut RISC Core developed in the UK by ARC International. The company was acquired by Virage Logic in 2009 and Virage was bought by Synopsys in 2010 and the ARC core is the heart of a line of embedded configurable processor IP blocks.

Intel’s Arc brand will cover hardware, software and services, and will span multiple hardware generations from the desktop to the datacentre and supercomputer, says Roger Chandler, Intel vice president and general manager of Client Graphics Products and Solutions.

However the use of the word for a graphics processor is likely to be too close to a CPU.

Since the return of Pat Gelsinger to Intel earlier this year, the company has been changing its branding, in both products and process technology.

The first generation discrete GPU, now code-named Alchemist and formerly known as DG2, will be based on Intel’s graphics microarchitecture branded as Xe and is aimed at high end gaming cards to tak eon Nvidia and AMD’s Radeon GPU. The Alchemist GPU will support hardware-based ray tracing and artificial intelligence-driven super sampling, and offer full support for DirectX 12 Ultimate.

The DG1 chip was a discrete graphics chip using the integrated graphics unit design from an x86 processor, and mostly sold in China.

Intel says the Alchemist chip, initially planned for 7nm process at TSMC, will be available in the first quarter of 2022 after a launch at the Consume Electronics Show, with more details later in the year.

Intel also revealed the code names of future generations under the Arc brand: Battlemage, Celestial and Druid.

The Xe HPG microarchitecture is a combination of the Xe LP, HP and HPC microarchitectures. The data centre version was codenamed Ponte Vecchio and Intel said this will use its ‘Embedded Multi-Die Interconnect Bridge’ (EMIB) and Foveros die stacking packaging on a 7 nm node. This is expected to be used in Argonne National Laboratory‘s Aurora exascale supercomputer.

“Today marks a key moment in the graphics journey we started just a few years ago. The launch of the Intel Arc brand and the reveal of future hardware generations signifies Intel’s deep and continued commitment to gamers and creators everywhere. We have teams doing incredible work to ensure we deliver first-class and frictionless experiences when these products are available early next year.”

Synopsys has been approached for comment.

As ever, the small print may be important here: “All product plans and roadmaps are subject to change without notice.”

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