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Leo Says Episode 40: The Intel Special

This week Leo spent some time at Intel's development centre in Israel to get to the bottom of what they are working on, what is happening with 10nm and what the future holds for the world's largest chipmaker. 

00:17 Leo was with Intel at Fab 28 in Kiryat Gat
02:12 Intel and the 10nm fiasco – and more
04:56 Sunnycove
05:33 Leo in a clean room bunnysuit
06:10 Do Intel need the positive PR ?
07:22 Leo gets told off by Intel and deletes photos
08:31 The Fab is both 14nm and 10nm – Intel spent $5 billion and possibly another $11 billion next year
10:32 Leo talks to Intel Fab manager about 10nm problems
11:44 Looking back at Intels roadmap
12:30 Clock speeds are not the key metric – its heresy!
13:35 Intel are proud of graphics in Icelake (Gen 11)
15:50 Is Intel having a bad year – are AMD set to capitalise ? What about mobile?
19:15 Intel AI chips
20:07 AMD EPYC Rome was all set to compete with Ice Lake Xeon
21:46 AMD owns the console market- but how much does it really matter?
22:42 Mobile phones – Intel did try.
23:46 AMD likely to take chunk of desktop market in 2019 onwards
24:30 We hope Ryzen 7 3000 model with 8 cores is very good – price looks competitive
24:56 Intel due to release Cascade Lake X
26:01 Competition is fascinating in CPU market
26:25 Intel financials – the current situation
28:02 The Intel visit recap, yields and more.

Leo's notes:

18 journos go to IDC (Israel Development Center) and Fab 28 in Kiryat Gat. What was Intel’s motive? Did they want to distract us from reviewing AMD Zen 2, or are they just lovely people with loads of good stuff to show off?

Intel previously locked Micro Architecture and Fabrication Process together such that Ice Lake and 10nm are synonymous. 10nm went off the rails a while back and the consequence is that Ice Lake has been on the sidelines for a year.They have now separated architecture from process but the changes will not take effect until they have a working process and 10nm does not look like that process. Let’s hope 10nm+ fills the role.

Coffee Lake was added to Intel’s roadmaps, apparently to counter AMD Ryzen. First we got the 6-core i7-8700K in 2017 and then the 8-core i9-9900K in 2018. The mobile version of Coffee Lake is named Whiskey Lake and includes mitigations for Meltdown and Spectre. Oh right, security!

So Intel added cores to counter Ryzen, failed to get 10nm off the blocks and also ran into a long list of security problems yet who could say Coffee Lake has been a failure on the desktop? Our complaints centre around high prices and the questionable thermals of a CPU that draws 180W in Auto mode. Gamers love these chips. The next desktop CPU from Intel seems to be Comet Lake which should deliver 10-cores, still on 14nm with a number of + signs. Will that compete with Ryzen 3000?

HEDT looks wobbly with Cascade Lake X on X299, still on 14nm, still offering up to 18-cores. Intel’s pricing will be interesting as the competition includes both high end Zen 2 and low end Threadripper. Will Intel slash their HEDT prices by 30% or 40%?

Intel Nervana NNP-I 1000 is an AI chip used for Inference (as opposed to NNP-T 1000 which is used for Training AI). Inference chips are lightweights where Training chips are typically hefty great graphics cards.

AMD EPYC Rome was all set to compete with Ice Lake Xeon but Intel has only just released Cascade Lake after years of Skylake which gives AMD a significant advantage in terms of cores, performance and price. On the other hand AMD is nowhere in the notebook market. Zen 2 may make inroads but AMD is effectively starting from a base of zero. Neither AMD or Intel has any presence in the world of mobile phones

When it comes to gaming consoles AMD rules the world however it has long been felt that AMD uses consoles for development and turnover while making very little profit.

AMD Q1 revenue of US$1.27 billion was down from Q1 2018. Margins up from 36 percent to 41 percent. Profits down from US$81 million to US$16 millions. Earning per share $0.01.

Intel Q1 2019 revenue US$16.1 billion which was flat margin 56.6% down from 60.6%, net income US$4.0 billion down from US$4.5 billion. Earnings per share $0.87.

KitGuru Says: July is shaping up to be an incredibly interesting time for hardware enthusiasts. We are preparing for multiple launches at the moment, so stay tuned for reviews and coverage. 

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