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The Intel Resurgence?

The Intel Resurgence?
by Daniel Nenni on 06-30-2014 at 8:00 am

 There is an interesting article on Seeking Alpha about Intel. Interesting because it is written by someone with both fabless semiconductor experience and a talent for strategic thinking. It’s a good read and like most Seeking Aplha semiconductor articles the comments are hilarious. Give the guy a penny and click over HERE, he deserves it:

Little understood by analysts or investors is the fact that Intel has always operated as a one-product company that spins out dozens of derivatives. Desktop, mobile and server chips originate from one common core. This leads to ramping of millions of units quickly and this is key: at incredibly high yields. Every time the company tries to implement a new core and split the markets, it fails. This occurs often and it is why Atom is not the future. Broadwell is well designed to continue the one core processor for all markets and selling from $30 to $6000 depending on number of cores, cache sizes, performance and power.

Full disclosure: I know the author (Ed McKernan), he started his writing career on SemiWiki and we happen to agree on most things semiconductor with the exception of Apple using Intel as a foundry. It’s not gonna happen Ed!

I too believe Intel will exit the Atom based SoC chip business. There is serious competition inside Intel between the microprocessor and mobile group and at some point in time there will no longer be room for both, my opinion. I’m told about 10,000 employees are involved with the Intel mobile effort so this would be a serious RIF. It would also be a serious piece of humble pie but I think Intel CEO BK is the right guy to eat it and be stronger as a result. Let’s see what Q2 2014 earnings bring for Intel mobile, my guess is it will be yet another billion dollar loss.

The funniest comment thus far is an attack on me of course:

Let’s keep in mind what you consider to be an expert opinion.

Back in mid-2011 you predicted Intel’s 22nm FinFET was a billion dollar mistake, and you claimed TSMC’s 3D IC technology was already in production yet it hasn’t been seen in public for 3 years now, unless by production you mean the production of powerpoint slides.

About six months after SemiWiki went online I wrote an article about the difference between a 3D transistor (FinFET) and 3D IC (packaging). This guy still does not get it. At that time SemiWiki had about 15k users (viewers) and close to 20k people read the article so that was a big deal. Three years later we have more than a million users and articles about Intel and TSMC still draw the most attention which is why I write them. I also learn as I write, which is the real motivation behind blogging, industry knowledge. Unfortunately sometimes it’s painful to look back at what I’ve posted and this is one of those times.

This is what I wrote:

In May of this year Intel announced Tri-Gate (FinFET) 3D transistor technology at 22nm for the Ivy Bridge processor citing significant speed gains over traditional planar transistor technology. Intel also claims the Tri-Gate transistors are so impressively efficient at low voltages they will make the Atom processor much more competitive against ARM in the low power mobile internet market.

Okay, so far so good.

Time will tell but I think this could be another one of Intel’s billion dollar mistakes. A “significant” speed-up for Ivy Bridge I will give them, but a low power competitive Atom? I don’t think so.

The BayTrail 22nm SoC was in fact a billion dollar contra revenue failure but I have no idea what I was thinking when I wrote this:

Intel already owns the traditional PC market so trading the speed-up of 3D transistor technology for lower power planar transistors is a mistake.

Say what? :confused:

More Articles by Daniel Nenni…..

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