backtop


Print 43 comment(s) - last by KOOLTIME.. on Feb 22 at 3:00 PM

Intel hopes to reach full production capacity after a two month delay

Just months ago at the 2011 Intel Developer Forum, executives with the world's largest traditional personal computer chipmaker, Intel Corp. (INTC) were all boast and bravado, saying their competitors were years behind in process.  Indeed, the talk about the dramatic gains in terms of power efficiency and clock speed using Intel's proprietary 22 nm FinFET 3D-transistor design sounded very impressive.

But the first chinks in the armor perhaps began to show at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, when Intel was caught faking its 22 nm Ivy Bridge DirectX 11 demo during its ultrabook pitch.  Intel brushed off the trickery, but the incident raised some serious questions.  If the 22 nm chip was launching in April at production volume and had already been taped out in final form, why would Intel have to use canned video?  Why couldn't it show its real product?  Why the obfuscation??

Well, DigiTimes is reporting that multiple OEM sources have shared that Ivy Bridge is being delayed from April to June.  While not a huge delay, the report raises questions about whether Intel's 22 nm process is as stable as it claims.

To be fair, the OEMs appear to be claiming that the delay is due to inventories:
Because most first-tier notebook vendors are having trouble digesting their Sandy Bridge notebook inventories due to the weak global economy, while Intel is also troubled by its Sandy Bridge processor inventory, the CPU giant plans to delay mass shipments of the new processors to minimize the impact, the sources noted.

In other words, PCs didn't sell well in 2011, Intel built up a surplus of CPUs, and so it wants to delay its release.  This is all very plausible, and indeed lines up with write-offs found in Intel's earnings reports.  

But it is also possible that Intel isn't being entirely forthcoming and that Ivy Bridge wasn't being delivered at the reliable high volumes it had hoped.  And it could very well be a bit of both factors -- too high inventories, and some struggles on the process front.

Regardless, it sounds like customers will have to wait on Ivy Bridge, a bit.

That's good news for the competition.  AMD hopes to aggressively roll out its Trinity accelerated processing units (APUs) later this year.  The chips are built on a 32 nm process (GlobalFoundries), but still aim to be competitive with Ivy Bridge in terms of power consumption and graphics performance.  AMD is gambling that the CPU will lose, processing speed-wise, to Ivy Bridge, but be "good enough" for most consumers.  

Trinity in the wild
AMD's Trinity APU (center) will launch later this year and aggressively target would-be Intel Ivy Bridge buyers by offering improved graphics and power efficiency at a lower price. [Image Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech]

AMD hopes to price its chip + chipset package at hundreds of dollars beneath Intel.  Where as Intel is targeting systems $700 and up, AMD has stated to us that Trinity systems will retail for $500 or less.  Strong 2011 APU sales of AMD's initial swing at this strategy made it look like a home run.

Likewise, ARM CPU makers, including Qualcomm, Inc. (QCOM) are looking to invade laptops and compact desktops late this year, with the introduction of 28 nm ARM CPUs compatible with Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFTnew Windows 8 [1][2][3][4][5][6].  The Q4 2012 devices are expected to follow a strategy similar to AMD's -- strong power efficiency at a low price.

The delay is also good news for third party USB 3.0 chipmakers like Renesas Electronics Corp. (TYO:6723), ASMedia Technology Inc., and Etron Ltd.  As Ivy Bridge was the first Intel chip to include on-die USB 3.0 support, it was expected to render these competitors' designs obsolete.  But now, they have been bought a bit more time.

Intel's core hope in terms of maintaining its dominant position is to beat the competition in process, and trickle down its process improvements into its budget models, mitigating cost and architectural disadvantages.  Intel has made big promises [1][2] regarding Atom-powered smartphones, but without 22 nm technology it appears to be forgoing any sort of big mobile push in 2012.  The longer it waits, the more advantage it gives to the hungry rivals.  Intel should hope that the delay does not set back its very aggressive 22 nm Atom rollout.

Sources: DigiTimes, MaximumPC [faked Intel Demo]



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Lack of competition from AMD?
By kenyee on 2/17/2012 3:20:29 PM , Rating: 2
If AMD had something that competed, Intel would have been more than happy to write off excess inventory to roll out something that would stomp them.


RE: Lack of competition from AMD?
By Targon on 2/20/2012 8:10:05 AM , Rating: 3
And even with this, AMD still beats out Intel in terms of overall quality of laptops and even desktops in the low end of the market(<=$520). Yes, Intel is ahead in terms of CPU design, but Intel GPU technology is FAR FAR behind, and have you ever noticed how many problems there are with Intel based networking due primarily to poor drivers?

Since we have GPU acceleration in web browsers and Flash(yes, people around HERE hate Flash, but it is still a huge part of the web right now and normal consumers don't share the dislike of it). This makes GPU power important, so all those systems with Intel graphics end up not looking like they are so much better, even with faster CPUs in them.

This is why the AMD A6 and A8 based machines really do sell well, not because they are the fastest in terms of CPU power, but because they ARE competitive on a system level in terms of price/performance/features.


RE: Lack of competition from AMD?
By AntDX316 on 2/21/2012 5:12:54 AM , Rating: 2
I think they are talking about the 3930k and 3960x

wouldn't be surprised in not selling much cause of the price tag and the fact the 2500k-2700k is good enough for gaming

I shut HT off on my 4.9ghz 2600k and everything felt Worse

3930k is $599 plus you need a $200+ motherboard when you can get a 2600k for like $300 and a $150 motherboard, it's not really ideal cause someone who is on a budget can get other parts better with the difference saved for same cpu consumer non developer/renderer performance


"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs














botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki