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posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday July 29 2020, @03:46AM   Printer-friendly
from the golden-parachutes-are-not-for-enginners dept.


Intel is revamping its technology leadership in a bid to turnaround its manufacturing unit after announcing delays in its 7nm processes.

Last week, Intel said on its second quarter earnings report that its 7nm products would be delayed. Rival AMD is already on 7nm as is TSMC. Since Intel's earnings report and market cap hit, analysts have been speculating that the chip giant may leave manufacturing.

In other words, Intel needed to revamp its technology organization. Under Monday's reorg, Dr. Ann Kelleher will lead technology development. She had led Intel manufacturing. Kelleher will focus on developing 7nm and 5nm processes. Murthy Renduchintala, Intel's chief engineering officer, will depart Aug. 3.

Intel is also separating its Technology, Systems Architecture and Client Group unit into teams focused on technology development, manufacturing and operations, design engineering, architecture, software and graphics and supply chain.

Safe to say Intel will be best positioned to fire 3 executives at the next slippage - I guess that may make the stock rebound faster than firing a single one.

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  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 29 2020, @05:36AM (13 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 29 2020, @05:36AM (#1028013)

    They are making huge profits. They can cut their prices in half and continue to profit. Intel isn't going away.

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  • (Score: 2) by leon_the_cat on Wednesday July 29 2020, @06:00AM

    by leon_the_cat (10052) on Wednesday July 29 2020, @06:00AM (#1028019) Journal

    that and most users don't give a damn what cpu they have in their laptop as they are all fast enough anyway.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by rleigh on Wednesday July 29 2020, @07:07AM

    by rleigh (4887) on Wednesday July 29 2020, @07:07AM (#1028031) Homepage

    This has been true of many a dying company. Their most profitable years come before the sudden fall. Current profitability is no indication of future performance, and never has been. Big industrial giants have fallen throughout the last two centuries. Their size and assets did not help them in the long run.

  • (Score: 2) by sjames on Wednesday July 29 2020, @11:09AM (5 children)

    by sjames (2882) on Wednesday July 29 2020, @11:09AM (#1028065) Journal

    But will they? If they do, will they ever again be more than the also-ran? Do they know how to be the budget brand?

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by takyon on Wednesday July 29 2020, @11:25AM (4 children)

      by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {}> on Wednesday July 29 2020, @11:25AM (#1028068) Journal

      Intel's Cascade Lake-X CPU for High-End Desktops: 18 cores for Under $1000 []

      They slashed Cascade Lake-X prices in half compared to Skylake-X, because they were forced to by the existence of AMD's Ryzen 9 3900X, 3950X, and Threadripper.

      But they can also drop the prices in secret... the prices that big customers pay. [] For consumer chips they will just run them at up to 300 Watts, and set the price to match AMD's price/performance. Losing market share in the consumer space might not be a big hassle for Intel, because it just frees up capacity to shift more CPUs to the datacenters and HPC users. Remember that Intel was having "14nm" shortages [] just recently.

      Intel has all sorts of options and "financial horsepower" [] to persist in the market.

      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []
      • (Score: 2) by sjames on Thursday July 30 2020, @02:24AM (3 children)

        by sjames (2882) on Thursday July 30 2020, @02:24AM (#1028435) Journal

        They did cut the price by a lot, but still more expensive than the AMD processor.

        • (Score: 2) by takyon on Thursday July 30 2020, @02:36AM (2 children)

          by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {}> on Thursday July 30 2020, @02:36AM (#1028441) Journal

          Many of Intel's sales are to OEMs, datacenters, etc. They are certain to be charging a lot less to some of those customers than what official/tray prices would suggest. Things are happening behind the scenes, and Intel is no stranger to anti-competitive behavior [].

          While Intel's "14nm" CPUs are notably worse than AMD's "7nm" CPUs in some ways, especially power efficiency, the "14nm" process is very mature. They are getting great yields and pumping those things out as fast as they can sell them. Intel is "winning while losing".

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          • (Score: 2) by sjames on Thursday July 30 2020, @12:16PM

            by sjames (2882) on Thursday July 30 2020, @12:16PM (#1028558) Journal

            All of that bolsters my point. Intel doesn't know how to be the budget brand. With all the problems with their latest and greatest, they're still marketing as if they're infallible. They're making it on momentum for now, but that can only go on for so long.

            That's not to say they'll be closing their doors any time soon, behemoths like that take decades to die.

          • (Score: 2) by rleigh on Friday July 31 2020, @07:59AM

            by rleigh (4887) on Friday July 31 2020, @07:59AM (#1029176) Homepage

            The Intel strategy is to target the high-value end of the market and abandon the low end. The low end is completely lost to ARM and other low-cost CPUs and MCUs. The middle is increasingly taken by AMD. They lost their deal with Apple. They don't really have anywhere to go, do they? The future of the cloud is custom ARM systems like Graviton. It will save the cloud providers billions.

            I see them going the same way as IBM as they had to abandon their PC lines, until they were left with the big iron only. They too, chased after the most profitable sectors even to their long-term detriment. These companies have astronomical overheads in personnel and facilities, their strategy makes sense in preserving what they have for as long as they can do so. But CPUs have become a commodity item. It's no wonder other smaller and more nimble companies can undercut them with a better product. Any company which desires one can get their own custom ARM, Sparc or MIPS CPU fabbed with all the custom features they desire, or even custom amd64 silicon from AMD. Or they can adapt an off-the-shelf one. Intel doesn't allow any of that flexibility. In some ways, their fall from dominance is both entirely predictable, and long overdue. They distorted a healthy CPU market for decades, and their anticompetitive practices killed off their competitors and reduced progress.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by RamiK on Wednesday July 29 2020, @11:26AM (4 children)

    by RamiK (1813) on Wednesday July 29 2020, @11:26AM (#1028069)

    They are making huge profits. They can cut their prices in half and continue to profit. Intel isn't going away.

    Actually much of Intel's revenues is on a steep log curve where losing a certain amount of core orders would double dip into their production scale as well as the "No one gets fired from buying Intel" type customers like in the public sector that have very low requirements but won't (personally) benefit from buying cheap so they're buying the safest to cover their own asses in case something goes sideways.

    It's why they fought so hard to keep AMD from overtaking a certain percentage of the server market: That number represented the scale in which they start hurting bad and lose their ability to compete over prices for bulk orders.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by bzipitidoo on Wednesday July 29 2020, @05:52PM (3 children)

      by bzipitidoo (4388) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 29 2020, @05:52PM (#1028196) Journal

      I find the upgrade treadmill irresistible. Can hold off for a while, but eventually the difference in performance and capability becomes so gross the only sensible thing to do is abandon the old computer. Any kind of breakdown, like an HDD going bad, is a whole bag of nails in the coffin. I'm still using a few decade old machines, but they are clearly obsolete. No SSE4 instructions. 45nm and 65nm dies. Consumes so much more power than a low power but still more performant 14nm that the difference in cost of electricity to run those boxes for a year is a significant portion of the cost of a new computer. Might be a difference of 500 kWh, and at 10 cent per kWh, that's $50 in electricity costs. And that's not factoring in the performance difference.

      There are a ton of enhancements that have been added over the years. Support for virtualization, with the VT-x and AMD-V stuff, has improved. Room for still more improvement there. I have completely abandoned 32bit x86 machines. Somewhere in there, mp4 decode in hardware crept in. We may expect AV1 codecs, and even AV2 in hardware eventually. Core counts are really climbing, and now a 2 core chip is low end. Integrated graphics are pretty common now, and their performance doesn't completely suck like the early Intel 845G crap from circa 2000. Another addition there is OpenCL and Vulkan support. Then there's fixes for the massive class of Spectre vulnerbilities. Old though my old machines are, they aren't so old as to predate Spectre. I wonder is it really such a performance penalty to completely fix Spectre?

      In short, as long as CPU makers can keep adding massive enhancements, as long as Moore's Law holds, they'll have a market. There's just too many things to do yet. I don't see it ending anytime in the near future. i guess it could easily continue for another 50 years.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 29 2020, @08:16PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 29 2020, @08:16PM (#1028274)

        Either requires signed firmware or has built-in signed backdoors.

        Most commercially available arm devices since the mid 1990s, the same thing (BREW+Proprietary OS, then Trustzone+stage1 signing.)

        Even GPUs since Maxwell v2 and between AMD R800 and Vega (Depending on what restrictions you accept) are now signed out the ass.

        I run older hardware because that was the last time hardware was trustworthy. Most of it still runs the latest software. A lot of it that doesn't natively run the latest software can run it with a binary recompiler like Intel's instruction emulator or in some cases qemu-. Very few of the modern instructions are 'Mandatory' after SSE2, although some of them will solve latency issues at different points in the codebase. Most software didn't even need that while Windows 7 was still supported, although I imagine we may see that change now that Windows 10 is the minimum supported platform, although linux hardware can still support any cpu with PCIe and x86_64 with a modern GPU, which limits the need to upgrade if you have at least 8GB of RAM and a modern gpu running at x8-x16 PCIe 1.1 lanes. Speaking from personal experience, very few games actually REQUIRE the full PCIe bandwidth we have available today, even if you wanted to run them at 120hz. The later OpenGL and Vulkan standards helped eliminate a lot of the bus bandwidth the earlier generations of hardware demanded while setting up all geometry on the cpu and dumping it to the gpu every frame.