Mega x86 chip outfit Intel is predicting a pretty flat 2017 after announcing mixed results for the last quarter of 2016.
Intel’s biggest cheese Brian Krzanich insisted that the last quarter for 2016 was a strong finish to a record year. But a lot of this was to do with Intel’s work in datacentres and clouds rather than its traditional PC base.
Next year AMD is expecting to be more competitive against Intel in 2017 with its new Zen processors for PCs, laptops, and servers. Microsoft is helping ARM based chip manufactures by issuing Windows 10 for them. This could mean that the days of x86 on the PC are ending.
Wall Street had expected Intel to report earnings per share of 75 cents on revenue of $15.8 billion for the fourth quarter. For the full year, they were expected earnings per share of $2.67 on revenue of $58.9 billion. Q4 earnings came in at $3.6 billion, or 73 a share, on revenue of $16.4 billion. A year ago, earnings per share were 74 cents, with revenue at $14.9 billion.
Net income for the year was $10.3 billion, while overall revenue for the year was $59.4 billion. A year ago, net income was $11.3 billion on revenue of $55.4 billion. Intel cut about 12,000 jobs during the year as it restructured to get behind the company’s focused priorities.
Krzanich said the company is taking a “conservative view of 2017 PC unit sales” than Wall Street. He said that there had been record demand for Intel PC chips in Q4, particularly on high end and gaming machines. However, he thinks that sales for 2017 could decline in the mid-single digit percentages, Krzanich said. To deal with that, Intel is positioning itself to lower its costs during the coming year.
Based on that it would appear that Intel is predicting that its chip sales will fall anyway during 2017 and then it will have to face a serious Zen and ARM challenge too.
A Wall Street analyst, with no thought to his personal safety, has dared to question what AMD fans have been telling us for ages – Zen will bring about peace on earth, cure cancer and above all give Intel a good kicking.
However, Christopher Danely with Citigroup has bravely claimed that with its “Kaby Lake” family of processors, Intel remains a “step-function ahead of AMD Zen when Zen chips are released in Q416.”
He also doubts the benchmark stats that AMD presented to promote Zen’s capabilities relative to Intel’s microprocessors claiming that the AMD controlled benchmark compared an engineering sample of a Zen processor that has not been released yet against a three-month old Intel processor, with both chips clocked at 3.0 Ghz.
“We note the maximum speed for the Intel chip is 3.2 GHz. The result showed AMD completing the benchmark 2 per cent faster than Intel, implying higher CPU efficiency on a “clock for clock” basis. AMD kept both 8 core chips at the same clock speed of 3.0 Ghz, below the native clock speed of the Intel chip. The benchmark result showed the Zen Summit Ridge processor completing the Blender rendering benchmark in 48.07 seconds, 2 per cent ahead of Intel Broadwell-E chip’s time of 49.06 seconds. We note this is only one benchmark using a custom workload performed at an AMD event under controlled conditions, and therefore cannot be verified by third parties and does not represent expected results under all workloads, Danely said.
Instead he thinks that Chipzilla will benefit from its process technology lead while AMD’s manufacturing partner, Global Foundries, which has a “spotty track record.”
“After several of delays and eventually failing to develop 20nm and 14nm on its own, GlobalFoundries entered into a partnership agreement with Samsung in April 2014 to adopt Samsung’s 14nm FinFET process. Despite using the same tools, recipes, and materials as Samsung’s 14nm process, products built on GlobalFoundries’ 14nm did not appear until earlier this year, roughly a year after Samsung released its Exynos 7420 SoC built on its 14nm process,” Danely pointed out.
Since the partnership agreement with Samsung does not include 10nm or lower nodes, we think the technology gap between AMD and Intel will widen again once Intel migrates to 10nm next year.
Meanwhile Intel released its new Kaby Lake chips on an improved 14+nm process this month, featuring a 15 per cent performance improvement over its Skylake chips. Kaby Lake chips deliver up to 12 per cent faster productivity performance and 19 per cent faster web performance over comparable Skylake chips
“We expect independent benchmarks to show Intel’ performance is a step function ahead of AMD Zen when Zen chips are released in 4Q16,” he said.
Below you will find lots of rantings from Intel and AMD fanboys and we expect the language to be colourful. Those of a sensitive disposition might want to look away now.
Intel has added eight new desktop chips to its price list, ranging from cheap Pentiums to mainstream Core i3 parts. All the chips are dual-cores based on the good old Haswell core.
Four new Pentiums are now available. All are dual-core, dual-thread chips with 3MB of L3 cache. The Pentium G3250 is clocked at 3.2GHz, it has a TDP of 53W and it costs $64. The G3250T runs at 2.8GHz, but it has a TDP of 35W. It costs the same. The second 35W part is the Pentium G3450T, which runs at 2.9GHz and costs $75. The G3460 is clocked at 3.5GHz, but it has a TDP of 53W and it costs $86.
The Core i3 family has four new members and they all support Hyperthreading. The Core i3-4160 is a 54W part clocked at 3.6GHz. The Core i3-4160T is a 35W version clocked at 3.1GHz. Both cost $117. The Core i3-4370 is a 3.8GHz part with a TDP of 54W and an MSRP of $149. The 4360T runs at 3.2GHz and costs $138, but as the T suffix suggests, it is a 35W part.
All of the new chips are basically clock bumps, offering 100MHz higher clocks than their predecessors. The “new” Core i3 products are priced to compete with AMD’s recently Kaveri desktop APUs.
Haswell-E, Intel’s next generation extreme platform, is set to launch by the end of the summer, according to a leaked document obtained by VR Zone.
The new Haswell-E chips, along with the X99 chipset, should debut in September. There is no specific date yet, but the launch could be timed to coincide with the Intel Developer Forum, which kicks off on September 9.
Haswell-E will be intel’s first professional desktop platform to support DDR4 memory. The series is expected to feature three chips at launch. The Core i7-5820K and i7-4930K are six-cores, while the role of Intel big core flagship goes to the Core i7-5960X.
Intel’s upcoming Haswell refresh parts are expected to ship later this year and the first batch should be available next month.
The initial batch will include six new Core parts along with five Celeron and Pentium products, reports Digitimes.
The new Core parts are the Core i7-4790, Core i5-4690, Core i5-4490, Core i3-4360/4350/4150. The lower end will be covered by Pentium G3450, G3440, G3240 parts and two new flavour of Celeron, the G1850 and G1840.
Last week Intel also announced Haswell-E, Devil’s Canyon and Pentium Anniversary Edition products. Devil’s Canyon is a Haswell refresh re-engineered for overclocking, with an all new packaging. Pentium Anniversary Edition parts sound interesting,
They will be unlocked and they will be based on Haswell refresh silicon.
We aren’t sure when Haswell-E, Devil’s Canyon and Pentium Anniversary Edition parts will ship, but it shouldn’t be long now.
With the introduction of Haswell some of the older Core processors are meeting their maker. They are at the end of the road and this time Intel has a rather long list of CPUs that are atoning for their sins.
The Core i5 3350P has received PDN (Product discontinuance notice) in Q3 2013 which is a ticket to heaven. The expected EOL is Q1 2014. Core i5 2390T already passed away in Q3 2013, reaching End of Life status. Core i3 3225 and 3210, both Ivy Bridge based, have received PDN in Q3 and will EOL in Q1 2014. Sandy Bridge based Core i3 2100, 2125, 2130, 2120T and 2102 have been euthanized in Q3 2013.
The ancient Atom D2500 has received PDN (Product discontinuance notice) but it won’t EOL before Q3 2014 at the earliest. The newer Atom D2550 has received PSN (Product Support Chance Notice) whatever that might be.
Most of the fallen comrades come from the world of Pentium and Celeron. Since today even Atom cores cam end up with Pentium or Celeron branding, the older chaps have booked a retirement home and plan to live their last quarters peacefully soaking in the Florida sun.
Sandy Bridge based G860, G645, G645T, G550T, G555, G465, G630, G620, G622, G870, G860T, G640, G530T have EOL’d in Q3 2014. The list continues with G630T, G640T and a few Celerons including G550, G540T, G460, G530 all Sandy Bridge based. There is no place for old 32nm parts in Intel’s 22nm driven world that aims to transition to 14nm in the next year.
Ivy Bridge and Haswell based parts are surely a better choice, but Haswell demands a new motherboard which is quite a lot of hassle, while Ivy Bridge parts will mostly work in the previous Sandy Bridge based boards. The choice is always yours but these chaps are no longer with us.
In the second half of 2013 Intel was forced to deal with at least six different desktop processor groups. On the top of the food chain Intel has Ivy Bridge E, Sandy Bridge E followed by, Haswell LGA 1150 and Ivy Bridge 1150 processors. The end carries the remains of Sandy Bridge processors, Celeron BGA and Bay Trail Atom processors.
As you can imagine Ivy Bridge E, Sandy Bridge E both based on LGA 2011 socket occupy some two percent of total Intel socket market while Haswell LGA 1150 reaches almost 30 percent of total shipments by socket in 2H 2013.
The most dominant products were naturally Ivy Bridge LGA 1155 parts that accounted for more than sixty percent of total shipments. Sandy Bridge 32nm processors in Socket 1155 are taking three percent of total shipments in 2H 2013 while Celeron BGA / Bay Trail D and old Atom based on Clower Trail 32nm should occupy some 5 percent.
In 1H 2014 Ivy Bridge E will eat the Sandy Bridge E market taking most of the pie for itself. Haswell and Haswell refresh, both LGA 1150 parts, should occupy close to 55 percent of the market while Ivy Bridge is doomed to shrink to 40 percent. Sandy Bridge LGA 1155 will be in some one to two percent of socketed processors that will ship in 1H 2014, while Celeron BGA and Bay Trail D (same thing under different brand) will grow into the Cedar View D market and conquer the rest of the low-end.
Both Haswell refresh and Bay Trail D should continue growing in 2H 2014 according to Intel’s desktop transition guide.
Intel’s Haswell rollout went well, but it wasn’t enough to revive the slumping PC market. Now it appears Intel is prepping two new low-voltage parts for affordable ultrabooks. The high end is already getting saturated and vendors don’t appear to be shipping that many Haswell laptops.
The 15-watt Celeron 2980U is targeting cheap ultrathins and ultrabooks. It is a dual-core chip clocked at 1.6GHz, no bells and whistles, no Hypertheading or Turbo. It has 2MB of L3 cache and an unspecified GPU.
The Core i5-4300U is a much more serious part and we suspect it won’t come cheap, either. It is a dual-core clocked at 1.9GHz, but it can hit 2.9GHz on Turbo. It is hyperthreaded and it has 3MB of L3 cache. The GPU of choice is the HD 4400 clocked at 200MHz to 1000MHz. The TDP is 15W.
Many were hoping that Intel’s new Core i7 4771 would at least get a new graphics core, but it turns out that the new king of the Haswell desktop hill only gets a small frequency bump.
The graphics core remains the HD 4600, just as well as with the current king Core i7 4770 but the clock speed goes up to 3.5 GHz versus 3.4GHz with the previous version. The TDP remains at 84W, max Turbo stays at 3.9GHz so in real life there will be very little difference between the Core i7 4770 and Core i7 4771. The clock update is a matter of the multiplier getting updated to 35 from the previous 34 setting.
This 8MB cache chip is scheduled to launch in Q3 2013 and it should remain the fastest Haswell desktop part until Q2 2014, when we expect to see the Haswell refresh processors launching.
We are still not sure what the Haswell refresh brings to the game, but we hope to learn more in early September at IDF 2013, where Brian Krzanich is is set to make his IDF debut and deliver his first keynote as CEO.
The world is changing and analysts are scared that ARM and companies that make ARM based chips can challenge Intel on many fronts.
It has been proven that ARM can do well in mobile phones and tablets, and now it wants to put more pressure on Intel and AMD on the notebook and server side. But at the same time Intel wants to become a bigger deal in the phone and tablet industry.
We have mentioned these highly efficient processors a few times this year. They are derived from the Y-processor line that normally has a 13W TDP and 7W SDP (Scenario Design Power). Intel can lower some clocks and get these processors to work at 6W TDP or lower making them compatible with fanless tablets.
In the real world these chips have a solid thermal throttle balance and once the chip hits the thermal maximum, which is around 4.5W to 5W for tablets, the chip would automatically drop the clock in order to cool itself down.
There is a big chance that Intel fanless tablets could perform much better than quad-core Cortex A15 chips from the top of the line including the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 and Nvidia Tegra 4, but this is something that we have to see.
Y-series processors with 13W TDPs based on Haswell, fourth generation of Core processors, are scheduled for Q4 2013 launch and so are the tablets based on a slower version of these processors with 4.5W max TDP.
Currently the lowest TDP for notebook processors are Core i7 3689Y and Core i5 3439Y based on Ivy Bridge with plans to get them replaced in Q4 2013 by the Core i7 Y-series based on Haswell.
It is being reported that Intel’s Haswell-X Xeon EP Processor has surfaced in Penang. The chip was seen during the company’s “Design in Asia” tour.
The processor was the Socket 2011-3 Haswell EP or Xeon E5 v3 and features 14 cores, a 35 MB cache, twin 9.6 GT/s QPI channels, and support for quad channel DDR4-2133 memory. This means that the Intel’s Haswell Xeons have already reached at least the QS phase.
The chip is still at least a year from commercial announcement, and the Ivy Bridge EP chips will only be arriving this summer. This means that selected customers may be receiving fully working ES versions by the end of the year.
Intel’s fastest desktop Celeron is G1620 and this Ivy Bridge based part rocks at 2.7GHz. it has 55W TDP, two cores and two threads as well as 2MB cache. We can remember days when Celeron had 512KB cache but these days are long gone.
The good thing about G1620 is that it offers a decent performance for $52 but this dominance in Celeron market is set to be replaced in Q4 2013 when the Haswell based version of Celeron comes to market. New Haswell Celerons need new motherboards powered by 8-series chipset and Socket 1155 and it will obviously end up at least slightly faster than G3220, the entry level Haswell Pentium part clocked at 3GHz that is set to launch in late Q3 2013 (September time).
We are not sure if this can help the desktop market that has been declining for years, but we still believe that there is a place for X86 based desktop and notebook computers in the world.
Intel has been executing its tick tock strategy flawlessly since January 2006 and now there is some indication that we might see the first slip in 8 years come 2014. Intel’s latest roadmap claims that in 12 months from now, in Q2 2014 Haswell will be replaced by a “Haswell refresh”.
Haswell is a tock, a 22nm new architecture and Broadwell is supposed to be based on Haswell fundamentals, but shrunk to 14nm like a proper “tock”. In case that the Haswell refresh is a tweaked 22nm core, this would mean that after 7 years of execution and billions of investments in cutting edge fabrication processes, Intel would have to slow things down.
It is not certain what would happen to 2015 Skylake, a new 14nm architecture, or the 10nm Skymont that is supposed to be the shrink, but in case Broadwell gets pushed back by a year there is a big possibility that the whole roadmap would slip a year.
When it gets ready the Haswell refresh (possibly a disguise name for Broadwell ed.) is replacing Core i7, Core i5, Core i3, Pentium and Celeron based Haswell chips, some sooner rather than later.
The chipset responsible for Haswell refresh is already branded as Z97 and H97 in desktop versions replacing the Z87 and H87 boards proving that the socket are likely to continue existing at least through 2014. It will be interesting to see the developments and if Broadwell is really delayed or this is just game of words on Intel’s part.
Intel has decided that will not allow non K-series Haswell CPUs to be overclocked.
According to Techreport, although Haswell offers more flexibility the form of additional base clock straps, access to those straps is disabled in non-K parts. This means that with Haswell, overclocking support is now almost entirely confined to K-series CPUs.
Intel’s argument is that non-K chips are targeted at the business and consumer market overclocking is not generally performed. Buying a K-series Haswell processor will another $20-$30 over the equivalent standard model. The Core i7-4770K is priced $30 higher than the Core i7-4770, while the Core i5-4670K is $20 more than the Core i5-4670.
Nvidia actually has a person with the catchy title of Chief Blogger and this person managed to get “an interview” with Rene Haas a VP and GM of computing products that currently takes care of Geforce mobile among other things.
Rene was asked to explain “why Gamers still need a discrete GPU with Haswell” and the answer is as logical as why do you use a seatbelt. Rene expects that Intel will continue to suck in graphics (our words not his ed.) and that that most popular games won’t play well on Haswell at standard resolution.
It seems that history really does repeat itself, as Intel had big claims for both Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge had been struggling to run new games of their time. Any serious gamers know that the answer is a proper discrete GPU. Haswell won’t change that, claims Rene.
It looks like Nvidia will have at least as many design wins as with Ivy Bridge, and Ivy Bridge was the record number or design wins for Nvidia. Rene claims that with this refresh Nvidia will have as much as 95 per cent of the gaming notebook which is nothing short of spectacular.
Rene also attacks Intel boldly claiming that “Their (Intel) comparison is misleading on a number of fronts.” Commenting the fact that Intel claims that GT3e will be faster than Geforce GT 650M. Intel based its claims on synthetic benchmarks, something that can be optimised, while Nvidia prefers real games, and even if GT3 wins again Geforce GT650, the new Geforce GT 750 is much faster than its predecessor and will have double the performance of GT3e in games.
Rene reminds us that GT3e is only available in top quad core mobile cores such as Core i7 4880QM that usually find their place in $3,000 notebooks. Rene tells customers that getting a Core i5 of Core i3 notebook with a better discrete GPU is the right way to get better gaming performance, although the vast majority of consumers already know that.
We remember that the last time we sat down with Rene, he said that when Intel gets faster with Integrated, Nvidia will simply gets even better with its corresponding low-end products and offers something faster. The cat and mouse game never ends.