• Will Intel be a dominant chip company going forward?

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    SILICON By Brian Livingston All the headlines seem to be bad for Intel lately — poor yields on bleeding-edge technologies, disappointed customers, lag
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    • #2447078

      Will Intel be a dominant chip company going forward?
      No, it won’t.
      Intel is losing to TSMC and Samsung building 3nm ARM chips (mobile, data centers…)
      Microsoft is building its own ARM chips in collaboration with Qualcomm.

    • #2447163

      With the upfront disclaimer that I’ve been an Intel shareholder for over 30 years, I don’t think Intel is going away at all.  I build my own workstations and have always used Intel CPUs.  I see many more problems on build forums of DIYs having problems with AMD CPUs.  Intel is also diversifying these days having just introduced GPUs.   We’ll see how that strategy goes.  One of the biggest moves they are making is into toll manufacturing.  There are lots of microprocessor applications that will not require 7nm and smaller chips and never will.  This is where the acute shortages are these days.  They are becoming a more nimble manufacturer and any thought that they are being beaten by TSMC and Samsung is premature.

      @Ales5723 who wrote, “Microsoft is building its own ARM chips in collaboration with Qualcomm”.  Qualcomm does not make their own chips but sources from Samsung and TSMC so it is not accurate to say ‘building’ in the above quoted sentence.

    • #2447172

      so it is not accurate to say ‘building’ in the above quoted sentence.

      Microsoft design ARM chips with Qualcomm collaboration.

    • #2447256

      There is more about the increase of CPU transistor density and resulting speed increase, etc., than some users’ need for more powerful devices, or business economics,

      There is also the question, for example, of the physical limits of these chip-making developments:

      There have been several serious concerns, over the years, about the trend of making smaller and smaller transistors (and diodes) that are the basic “atoms” of a CPU and, therefore, of  the NAND, OR, NOR, etc. gates made of such “atoms”, that are the “molecules” that actually make the CPU, GPU, and the RAM work, as well as the SSD and other flash memory devices.

      Several problems raising such concerns have been solved over time, but two remain, for which there may be a solution — or not, depending on how optimistic the expert commenting on this is feeling about it:

      (1) Carrier tunneling: electrons and pseudo-particles known as “holes” (missing electrons in semiconductor atoms) may end up in the wrong places inside a transistor or diode, because they obey the laws of quantum mechanics, not those that govern what we can observe around us directly, and can jump the electric field potential barriers erected to keep them flowing as intended.

      (2) Cosmic ray hits (and radioactivity, more generally, even the low-intensity background one we live immersed in, although this one is not strong enough to be a practical concern — yet).

      A good deal of research and development has been going on in recent decades, and still is, because of these concerns, in order to keep pushing down the limit of the smallest transistor size possible with current chip-making technology below which these risks can make the functioning of computers problematic. The present goal is to make chips that work reliably with 5nm transistors, mentioned in Livingston’s blog (i.e. fitting tightly within a circle with a diameter 10 or 20 times that of an average atom) — and even smaller sizes.

      Interested? Here is some reading material:

      https://open.lib.umn.edu/informationsystems/chapter/5-2-the-death-of-moores-law/

      http://www.monolithic3d.com/blog/is-there-a-fundamental-limit-to-miniaturizing-cmos-transistors1

      https://physicsworld.com/a/cosmic-challenge-protecting-supercomputers-from-an-extraterrestrial-threat/

      Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV and Malwarebytes for Macs.

    • #2447339

      Will Intel be a dominant chip company going forward?
      No, it won’t.
      Intel is losing to TSMC and Samsung building 3nm ARM chips (mobile, data centers…)
      Microsoft is building its own ARM chips in collaboration with Qualcomm.

      Again, not that simple.

      Has Intel been losing? Yes.  AMD’s Epyc has made great strides in the datacenter, especially in cloud-hosted environments. While not making the same increases in the consumer market, they have achieved far more market penetration in laptops (including business models like ThinkPads) and desktops than they have in years, and they’re making some great stuff. As you mention, Apple has also gone M1 and there’s more options than just x86-64.

      However, Intel’s latest 12th-generation processors bring a significant architectural change to their previous processes, and greatly raise their ability to compete where several previous generations could not. They’ve also finally achieved the die-shrinks they need.

      Further, in areas where SoC isn’t the only game, Intel’s chipset, wireless, and Ethernet controllers (among others) lead the industry in stability. Stability is a huge portion of the game, and so they still have a large chunk of the business market.

      I love competition. It keeps everyone from stagnating, something Intel did a lot of during the Core 2 Duo era when AMD wasn’t as competitive. However, Intel came back from the failure that was the Pentium 4 to get to the Core 2 Duo era and beyond, so I would say counting them out is premature.

      We are SysAdmins.
      We walk in the wiring closets no others will enter.
      We stand on the bridge, and no malware may pass.
      We engage in tech support, we do not retreat.
      We live for the LAN.
      We die for the LAN.

      • #2447344

        LoneWolf wrote: “However, Intel’s latest 12th-generation processors bring a significant architectural change to their previous processes, and greatly raise their ability to compete where several previous generations could not. They’ve also finally achieved the die-shrinks they need.

        Interesting. Maybe LW would be kind enough to explain what are those significant architectural changes brought in with the 12-generation Intel processors? Thanks.

        Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

        MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
        Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
        macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV and Malwarebytes for Macs.

    • #2447501

      LoneWolf wrote: “However, Intel’s latest 12th-generation processors bring a significant architectural change to their previous processes, and greatly raise their ability to compete where several previous generations could not. They’ve also finally achieved the die-shrinks they need.

      Interesting. Maybe LW would be kind enough to explain what are those significant architectural changes brought in with the 12-generation Intel processors? Thanks.

      I should explain – I don’t mean that Intel has abandoned x86-64.  However, Alder Lake has made significant changes from previous generation processors, and with those changes, significant performance increases beyond what they were previously capable of.

      A better explanation could be found here:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htCvo9XJZDc

      https://en.wikichip.org/wiki/intel/microarchitectures/alder_lake

      https://www.anandtech.com/show/17376/intel-launches-alder-lake-hx-series-processors-for-highend-laptops

      This doesn’t mean I’m putting down AMD’s or Apple’s CPUs. It just means that I see Intel (after a significant several-year stumble) appearing to get off its knees. To me, the real question will be what we see from Apple when they release M2, and AMD when they release their next generation of the Zen architecture.

      We are SysAdmins.
      We walk in the wiring closets no others will enter.
      We stand on the bridge, and no malware may pass.
      We engage in tech support, we do not retreat.
      We live for the LAN.
      We die for the LAN.

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