Intel is going for it
Intel's Haswell appears to be targeting Nvidia when it hits the shops in 2013.
A technical document posted tipped on an Intel software blog dumps hints about what its "Haswell" chip will be doing. We already know that the mobile version of the Haswell will be Intel's first system-on-a-chip designed for the laptop market.
Under Intel's cunning plan, by 2013, if the world has not been eaten by a mutant star goat, the laptop market will likely consist of "Ultrabooks." These are ultraslim, ultralight laptops, as well as hybrid designs such as the Asus UX21 and Apple's MacBook Air. Haswell-based Ultrabooks will be about $599 and will not require graphics silicon from companies like Nvidia.
In the Intel Software Network blog with the catchy headline "Haswell New Instruction Descriptions Now Available!" the post gives an overview of "a full specification for the Haswel.” It talks about how it will ship with Intel's Advanced Vector Extensions, or AVX which will deal with the continued need for “vector floating-point performance in mainstream scientific and engineering numerical applications, visual processing, recognition, data-mining/synthesis, gaming, physics, cryptography and other areas of applications”.
Intel AVX uses “advanced thread parallelism, and data vector lengths” to do all that. What it means is that Intel will be a lot better at handling the kinds of tasks that Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices target today with their graphics silicon. While there is an element of “well it would say that wouldn't it?” we have been waiting for a while for Intel to move on the graphics market and it looks like this will happen with Haswell.