During an interview with financial analyst, Pierre Ferragu, Intel’s CEO and CFO talked about their company’s strategy in the x86 consumer, client, and data center segments. The executives also detailed their execution plans with upcoming consumer and cloud products including Alder Lake, Diamond Rapids, and Xe-HPG ARC GPUs.
Intel CEO Says Alder Lake Will Be Their AMD Zen Moment, Three Zen-Like Architectural Updates Coming To Consumers
Intel’s CEO, Pat Gelsinger, was asked about when his company will have a Zen moment to which he replied that Alder Lake will be bringing three Zen-like innovations as detailed during its Architecture Day 2021. The three key innovations would include the heterogeneous architecture itself which will include big and little cores. The CEO states that AMD has nothing like that at their end and with the Heterogenous approach, Alder Lake CPUs will boast high-performance cores alongside an energy-efficient version of the Big cores, leading to increased efficiency and higher multi-threading output.
But that’s not all, Intel is also cooking next-gen architectures back in their labs which according to the CEO are going to be ‘ a pretty dramatic step forward and well beyond anything that was talked about yet’. Pat could be referring to Meteor Lake or future Cove cores that were recently leaked & are expected to bring a major push to IPC and architectural enhancements but I guess we will have to wait till the next IDM / Architecture Day for more details on those.
Q- Will there be a Zen moment for Intel?
A- We have a number of things going on over here[…] We are rolling out the heterogenous architecture that is part of Alder Lake where we have big and little cores, you know AMD only has one. We’ll have a higher performance and a more energy-efficient version of the core, pretty compelling, we’ll lay out our major vector enhancement stuff, we have our GPU architecture where we are gonna start being in a position to really put pressure on NVIDIA for the first time forever.
And we are laying out our IPU architecture when we get to our smart NICs and smart networking fabrics so three major architectural announcements this week that we think are pretty Zen-like.
And trust me, we have a few that are still cooking back in the labs that we are going to look forward to talking to people about that we think are a pretty dramatic step forward and well beyond anything that was talked about yet and some that might not be talked about for a couple of years but innovation, you know the geek is back.
Intel To Put Pressure on NVIDIA For The First Time With Its Xe-HPG ARC GPUs
Intel’s CEO not only mentioned AMD but NVIDIA too. Pat states that with their upcoming graphics (Xe-HPG) architecture for ARC GPUs, they will be putting pressure on NVIDIA’s GPU lineup for the first time forever! The company has so far only landed its Xe GPU architecture on mobile stuff but with Xe-HPG, the company is going to take the battle to all segments including desktop and discrete mobile graphics. But this is the first time the company has stated that it will be competing against NVIDIA which is an undisputed king of the discrete and AIB GPU segment.
Intel Looks To Regain Sustained Leadership In Cloud Segments Through Better Execution, Mentions Diamond Rapids As Future Xeon CPU Family
Pat also talked about how they aim to regain trust within the data center and cloud segment. As per the CEO, Intel definitely acknowledges the AMD threat and that’s been the case since Brian Krzanich called AMD a ‘Formidable Competition‘ and stated that it’s their job to not let AMD capture a double-digit market share of 15-20%. Within a few years, AMD went from a 0% market hold in 2017 to over a 10% market share in 2021 with its Zen-powered EPYC lineup.
Intel’s CEO says that they were in a period where they were behind AMD for a couple of years and that was due to poor execution of their server/cloud strategy. However, they are going to do better and with products like Ice Lake and the upcoming Sapphire Rapids / Diamond Rapids Xeon chips, the company expects a period where they are going to be very competitive and in 3-4 years, Intel excepts sustained leadership within the cloud segment.
Q How do you make sure Intel remains central and the number one client in the cloud.
A-There are probably three different aspects Pierre to talk about, you know there’s always the AMD view and the AI and alternative architecture view, and then how we deepen the partnership with the cloud guys. So we seem to think about it in all three dimensions.
We just say about the AMD threat, you know we got to do better products, period!
So we gonna build better products and they had a period we haven’t executed well. We’re gonna execute, execute, execute!
and with that, we see that we are coming into a period where we are going to be very competitive. So we were in a period where we were behind. Now with Ice Lake, Sapphire Rapids, Diamond Rapids, we are in a period where we are going to be very competitive and as we get out to 3 -4 years from now, we see that we will be in sustained leadership again.
So we are coming into a period where we are going to be much more competitive and with products that you know are much more competitive, more pricing dynamics, better market share potential, better TCO values for the cloud guys so we just gotta compete.
Intel’s Sapphire Rapids Xeon CPUs will compete against AMD’s EPYC Genoa family. The new EPYC lineup looks to be a tremendous step up over existing EPYC Milan chips. Intel’s Diamond Rapids SP Xeon family might be the first lineup to offer leadership over the EPYC lineup but are expected to launch in 2025 which falls in line with the CEO’s 3-4 years timeline.
I am going to have the bulk of [my product line] built internally and be able to harvest those margins as well. We are going to make selective use of foundries. […] If I need to use a foundry to have a unique product or a halo product and certain portions, absolutely.
I really unleashed my engineering teams to say, you are going to deliver the best product. Period. You are unconstrained to pick the technologies to always be delivering the best products that you have in the category.
Intel also wants to leverage the use of both internal and external fabs with its IDM 2.0 strategy as detailed during the process and manufacturing day. The CEO says that he wants his design teams to be utilizing the best foundries to build the best products. Overall, Intel’s new strategy under Pat Gelsinger, CEO, looks like it could work if handled and executed well. The company faces a lot of competition from chipmakers and its fabs are also undress stress to deliver the next-gen nodes on time but with this new strategy, Intel could once again lead the industry forward in terms of innovation!