There are new rumors of AMD's next-gen Zen 4 microarchitecture, and it looks like the company is following in the footsteps of a bigger competitor to Intel. If AMD launches its Ryzen processor based on the Zen 4 core, according to the latest rumors and leaks, it could potentially equip each of its processors with an integrated GPU, a strategy that Intel has adopted across its range of processors.
Rumors of AMD's potential integrated graphics strategy for Zen 4 processors come from PC Gamer, who claimed to have pieced together AMD's roadmap by combining several rumors.
If that doesn't work, it means a Ryzen processor with Zen 4 drive has built-in Radeon-based navi graphics to compete with Intel CPUs with built-in Xe graphics. Since integrated graphics are nowhere near as powerful as discrete GPUs, this solution is still not going to be all that appealing to gamers. However, AMD may deal with casual PC buyers and business systems who may not need the full power of a graphics card. With an integrated GPU, AMD-based Ryzen systems can still get a performance boost when using GPU-optimized Office apps, video rendering, and even the occasional, light gaming.
Some AMD processors, so-called APUs or Accelerated Processing Units, are already being delivered with integrated graphics. These chips are designed for a very specific market, however, and AMD could make its Ryzen processors more attractive if each CPU had graphics capabilities built in. This strategy means that Intel would lose part of its competitive advantage over AMD, at least for office systems. This is one less reason for IT to automatically choose Intel over AMD.
It may take a while for AMD's "if you can't beat them, join them" approach to materialize. Currently, AMD is using its Zen 3 architecture with the Ryzen 5000 processors, and there are rumors that the company could switch to a 6nm-based Zen 3+ design before arriving at Zen 4. Zen 4 is believed to be based on a 5nm design, and the processor will finally see AMD migrate from its AM4 socket to a new AM5 socket. By then, hopefully, AMD would have recovered from the global semiconductor shortage affecting the industry.
AMD and Intel not only compete against each other, but are also facing increasing competition from Apple. After Apple announced the move away from Intel processors, Apple unveiled its own Apple M1 silicon, an ARM-based design that combines CPU and GPU cores on the same chipset in a similar way to the way the company does on its own smartphones. Apple's departure from Intel will – when fully realized – also affect AMD, as AMD's discrete Radeon graphics cards are often paired with the Intel CPU on a high-end system.