The State of Intel via Innovation Summit

September 26, 2023 / Ben Bajarin

Below a summary of topics covered in the latest episode of The Circuit with Ben Bajarin and Jay Goldberg.

Last week, Intel held its annual Innovation event where it provided updates on its product roadmap and manufacturing progress. While there were no major surprises, the event gave some insights into Intel’s strategic direction. Here are some key things to look out for from Intel in 2023 and beyond:

Manufacturing on Track

Intel confirmed that its next-generation manufacturing processes – 20A and 18A – remain on schedule. Given the delays and setbacks Intel has faced, it was reassuring to hear their manufacturing transformation is progressing. Advanced nodes with EUV lithography will be critical to Intel regaining competitiveness.

AI as a Standard CPU Feature

For client processors, Intel is positioning built-in AI capabilities as a standard CPU feature rather than a separate processor. The company wants consumers to view “some AI” as a given, much like they see cores or cache today. While AI performance may not match rivals, Intel is still strong in the PC channel.

The Rise of the AI PC

Get ready to hear more about the “AIPC” or AI PC. Intel is defining a new PC category focused on localized AI processing. This will require new hardware capabilities not present in today’s systems. The AIPC concept plays to the strengths of Intel’s neural processor units while tapping into growing demand for AI at the edge.

Gaining Foundry Customers

Intel is making progress with its foundry services, but investors were hoping for commitments from high-profile customers. Landing major customers will depend on Intel delivering on its 20A and 18A nodes. But packaging innovations are already attracting clients and may open the door to foundry engagements.

The Data Center Battle

While Intel aims to be competitive in AI, its data center roadmap remains centered on traditional Xeon CPUs. With AMD chipping away at market share and Nvidia leading in accelerators, Intel faces an uphill battle in the cloud despite manufacturing improvements. The competitive landscape today is more wide open than ever.

The next couple of years will be crucial for Intel executing on these initiatives. While the Innovation event didn’t have big reveals, it sets the stage for what to expect from Intel as it aims to reclaim leadership in the semiconductor industry.

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