Sandy Bridge is the reason for strong growth in CPU/GPU hybrids  (Source: Intel)
By 2014 over 80% will have CPU graphics

Both Intel and AMD are implementing so-called graphics-enabled microprocessors (GEMs) inside laptops and desktops on the mainstream markets this year.

Research firm iSuppli has announced that these GEMs will be installed in about 115 million notebooks that will ship this year, which is about half the expected shipments for all of 2011. At the same time, the GEMs will be crammed inside about 45% of desktop computers that ship working out to about 63 million units.

One major reason for the number of GEMs shipped to grow so strongly this year is that the Sandy Bridge processors from Intel are GEMs, and AMD will be bringing its own offering to market too.

"The two biggest players in the PC microprocessor field are intensifying their competition in the GEM market in 2011," IHS said. "Intel at the beginning of 2011 was getting ready to launch its second-generation Core processor family known as Sandy Bridge, which integrates the CPU and graphics processor into one single piece of silicon. AMD, on the other hand, will release five application platforms with five GEM microprocessor categories."

The GEMs allow the notebooks and desktops to handle the graphics needs of the company and HD video rendering. They are not, however, often up to high-end 3D gaming. Users of desktop and notebook computers that are meant for high-end 3D gaming will still need discrete GPUs to get the performance needed to support high-resolution graphics and fast frame rates. 

ISuppli also notes that by 2014 it expects 83% of the notebooks and 76% of the desktop computers shipped to use GEMs. Those numbers will undoubtedly hurt the discrete GPU business of NVIDIA with its mainstream GPUs not being used as much. NVIDIA should still be popular in the discrete GPU market for gaming though.

"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner

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