Intel acknowledges AMD’s new Zen 2 as “tough competition”
With the upcoming launch of AMD’s newest CPU architecture, the Zen2 line, which features a variety of new and powerful processors, many of which apparently offer better price compared to overall performance. And in a rather lengthy internal memo Intel lays out all the analysis of AMD and their new attempts to break away a piece of the CPU market in one handy place. It’s structured in a Question and Answer style that both praises and criticizes their rival. All together, it’s a pretty glaring admission that Intel actually views their competitor as a serious threat to Intel marketshare, something that wouldn’t have been possible a few short years ago. It’s titled “Why AMD is now a formidable competitor,” and it’s a pretty frank piece from Intel.
There’s a lot to unpack here as Intel dives deep on the AMD partnership with TSMC and their leverage for 7nm manufacturing that allows AMD to push core counts higher. There’s also plenty of marketing fluff buried in here as it’s a spin piece more than anything, but those willing to dig can uncover some really cool information about both companies.
Said article contains a lot of information, and a fair bit of insight into how AMD designs and produces their products. For one thing, the article talks at length about how AMDs manufacturing process creates CPUs that are very well-suited for heavily-threaded workloads that other architectures would falter with.
Q. Why does it matter that AMD is going to TSMC for manufacturing?
It means that they have the flexibility to use whatever process technology they want, whatever process is best for their products. TSMC offers an advantage in terms of process node advancements. [See the Circuit News competitive profile on TSMC.] They’re using their 7 nm process, and with that they get a per-core frequency bump and lower power, which means they can scale to more cores per processor.
On top of that, AMD made improvements in their 2nd generation Zen core and their disaggregated chiplet-based architecture scales cores efficiently. Therefore, on workloads that are heavily threaded, including heavy content creation and most server workloads, they’ll get great performance results. And on price, we expect their pricing to be significantly below ours. So they’ll likely get good performance-per-dollar. That’s what they’re going to compete on, and that’s the risk to Intel.
This is followed by Intel pointing out and addressing the disparity between top Intel price points and AMDs prices. And while Intel does offer more products at wider price ranges compared to AMD, the influence of the perception of the consumer cannot be ignored. Intel even acknowledges that AMD has them beat in a few key areas of performance, but they’re not taking the hit lying down.
Performance challenges absolutely exist, but we will continue to position our value and our advantages. Some innovations we bring to the table that deliver customer value may not always result in higher performance benchmark scores, or the value of the innovation goes beyond standard benchmark results.
It’s a fascinating read all considered, and even if you just want some insight into the PR machine and marketing strategies hardware manufacturers use, it’s worth a perusal.
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