Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger declared that his company is back in an interview with CRN. Never mind AMD's rising market share—to say nothing of it offering the best CPUs for gaming and workstations in 2021—or increased competition from companies designing Arm-based chips. Gelsinger hardly seemed to care about either one.
Why? Partly because it's his job not to let those concerns show during interviews like this. But also because of the upcoming Alder Lake and Sapphire Rapids processors, which he said will demonstrate Intel's commitment to dominating the CPU market once again, to the point that no one can question who should wear the crown.
In his own words:
"So this period of time when people could say, 'Hey, [AMD] is leading,' that's over. We are back with a very defined view of what it requires to be leadership in every dimension: leadership product, leadership [chip] packaging, leadership process, leadership software, unquestioned leadership on critical new workloads like AI, graphics, media, power-performance, enabling again the ecosystem. This is what we will be doing with aggressive actions and programs over the next couple of years."
Aggressive might be an understatement. Intel hasn't just talked up the performance of upcoming processors—it's also committed to building custom x86 CPUs via IDM 2.0, pursued leading RISC-V chip designer SiFive, and revealed plans to build massive fabs in Europe and the U.S. as the regions look to improve their supply chains.
The quality of Intel's processors also matters, of course, especially since AMD's gains on that front have been at least partly responsible for its recent market share gains. But again, Gelsinger doesn't seem worried about Intel's response to the increased competition, especially since it's already revealed its answers to AMD's latest efforts.
"We're not 80-ish percent share because we don't satisfy the customers and satisfy the market and enable the partners as well," Gelsinger said. "And yeah, AMD has done a solid job over the last couple of years. We won't dismiss them of the good work that they've done, but that's over with Alder Lake and Sapphire Rapids."
Alder Lake was officially revealed at Intel Architecture Day 2021. The SoCs will attempt to find their way into seemingly every consumer gadget around with TDPs ranging from 9W to 125W and a maximum of eight efficiency cores and eight performance cores for a total of 16 cores and 24 threads in the desktop offerings.
Those specs don't necessarily do Alder Lake justice. Intel senior vice president and Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics Group general manager Raja Koduri described it as the biggest change to the x86 architecture in over a decade. The company is responding to both AMD and Arm-based chips with the platform.
Sapphire Rapids might not have been aptly named—production on the first Xeon Scalable processors based on the architecture has slipped from late 2021 to the first half of 2022—but that shouldn't prevent it from standing toe-to-toe with AMD's latest EPYC offerings. (Especially with the ongoing supply crunch for server CPUs.)
"Intel is back," Gelsinger told CRN. "These are the best products in their category. We have the best supply situation. We have the best quality software assets. The most respected, venerable technology brand in the industry. Yeah, that's what your channel readers need to be delivering to their customers."