A boutique builder has launched a brand new lineup of “no GPU” fanatic PCs, particularly meant for avid gamers who have already got a video card however want to purchase every little thing else. To date, just one firm that we’re conscious of has taken this step, however a number of latest tales have implied GPU availability is getting worse, not higher. This can be the start of a development.
I’ve been a gamer lengthy sufficient to recollect the introduction of 3D video playing cards. For the previous 20 years, “gaming” and “GPU” have been virtually synonymous, however they weren’t all the time. Previous to the introduction of consumer-level 3D accelerators, efficiency within the 3D renderers of the day (Ultima Underworld, Doom, Quake, varied flight simulators) was solely depending on CPU efficiency.
I think one motive AMD survived the x86 desktop CPU wars of the mid-Nineteen Nineties, the place firms reminiscent of IDT and Cyrix didn’t, is the floating-point unit on chips just like the K6 and K6-2 was highly effective sufficient for modest gaming. Different producers might solely compete with Intel in integer workloads and their designs have been restricted to low-end price range rigs. As long as Intel dominated each integer and floating-point math, it might dominate gaming.
Then got here the period of 3D acceleration, powered by Voodoo, TNT, and Rage. Intel MMX, launched in January 1997, was meant to be the start of a brand new period of 3D rendering through which SIMD models inside CPUs would speed up video video games. As an alternative, video playing cards and GPUs grew to become the predominant driver of gaming efficiency. Even as we speak, when built-in graphics are higher than they’ve ever been, GPUs are thought of a requirement for any laptop meant to recreation above minimal element ranges and settings. Underneath regular circumstances, taking the GPU out of a boutique system wrecks it for its meant goal.
The UK boutique, FiercePC, claims that these methods “won’t boot up” with out an exterior GPU, however solely two of the methods use an “F”-class Intel CPU that lacks an built-in GPU. The third is a Core i7-10700 and the motherboard for this technique (Asus TUF B460-PLUS) options an HDMI port. FiercePC could have disabled the built-in GPU by default, however a UEFI reset would restore it.
The purpose of shopping for a boutique PC is that you simply’re paying for comfort and some extent of customization. This very a lot contains not having to put in core elements your self. Promoting a platform absent the GPU implies GPU costs are rising, even for OEMs. This is able to make sense, provided that a number of firms like MSI and Asus are planning to extend costs as availability drops. Avid gamers know that built-in graphics aren’t meant for gaming, and there’s not sufficient variance in built-in GPU configurations to construct a product stack out of within the first place. Promoting the methods in a “BYOG” configuration lets FiercePC keep away from throwing a card in in any respect, and it dodges the adverse related to promoting a high-end boutique PC that relies upon solely on its iGPU.
The out-of-control costs on eBay indicate few avid gamers are shopping for Ampere or RDNA2 at something approaching MSRP. If extra firms copy FiercePC on this and begin providing gaming methods with out GPUs, it’ll be an extra indication of how choked the market is. It’s not a superb signal for a gaming PC builder to begin transport methods with out the signature element that defines a gaming PC.