The Processor Wars between Intel and AMD

A processor is considered the heart of a computer, and Intel is the king of the heart. Is this crown going to be dethroned? Is this possible that Intel, a company with an 80-81% market share in the computer processors industry could be overtaken behind by the competitor AMD?  We'll find the answers in this article. Let's go deeper.

The Processor Wars between Intel and AMD
The Processor Wars between Intel and AMD

Intel vs AMD

Intel is stuck on 14nm due to their problematic 10nm process which is preventing them from manufacturing high volume CPUs.

Consequently, the bulk of their consumer, workstation, and server parts will remain at 14nm till the end of 2020. This gives AMD ample time to roll out competitive products based on TSMC's 7nm process which gives them a performance per watt and performance per mm2 advantage over Intel.

This basically means that AMD now offers CPUs which can not only trade blows with Intel's CPUs but also use less power and dissipate less heat. Zen2 IPC is on par, if not better than the Skylake core (used in 7th, 8th, and 9th gen Intel chips). Clock for clock, Zen2 is now able to outclass Intel and this hasn't happened since the Athlon days 15 years ago.

Why Intel is losing to AMD?

There is nothing wrong with Intel in terms of investment in R&D and a skilled team. They have everything of the top-class. 

According to an assured report from Statista, Intel has invested more than 13.56 billion US dollars in research and development in the year 2020 in comparison to which AMD only invested 1.98 billion US dollars. On average, AMD invests only 6.8% of the amount in Research & Development to that of Intel's.

It's all about leadership and mistakes in decision-making. Intel is going more on the branding side rather than on innovation and implementation.

Is the AMD processor really better than Intel's?

AMD is succeeding at is jumping well ahead of Intel in two specific market areas where AMD has a capability of price advantage:

  1. Embedded 3d graphics
  2. Higher core counts

Intel has responded to the first by licensing AMD 3D graphics accelerator designs that they now embed in a few of their own chips. Intel has responded to the second by moving up some product releases.

In both cases, though, Intel is not trying to win the capability: price ratio, because doing so would force it to lower some of its most profitable SKU prices to a point where they would no longer be so profitable. In other words, Intel is not willing to protect its market share by sacrificing its profits.

  • AMD has an advantage over Intel in the server CPUs now.
  • EPYC Rome has 64 cores single-socket vs 56 for Intel.
  • Performance per Watt in N7 is better than in Intel’s 14nm++.
  • The price per core is better than Intel’s.
  • AMD is the only company that has both discrete CPU and GPU offerings. Intel has no discrete GPU yet, Nvidia has no x86 CPU.
  • EPYC has PCIe 4 in the server market versus PCIe 3 for Intel. it makes a lot of difference for bandwidth going off-chip.

The End Notes

Innovation is important. The brand is a combination of feature offering and values that bind to it. Well, that's all in this article. I hope you liked it. Do share your views in the comment section and share what you think about this. And yeah, have a good one.

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