Intel On Upcoming Arm-Based PC CPUs: “We Take All Competition Seriously” – 20A Arrow Lake & 18A Panther Lake On-Track, 2 Million 4th Gen Xeon Shipments

Intel has reported its Q3 2023 earnings and during the earnings call, CEO Pat Gelsinger reiterated that all products are on schedule while also providing a statement on the increasing competition within the PC space from Arm-based CPU offerings.

Intel CEO Talks Arm-x86 CPU Battle In PC Segment, Reiterates Product Roadmap, Arrow Lake on 20A / Panther Lake On 18A Node & 2 Million Shipments For 4th Gen Xeon Imminent

There’s a lot to talk about so let’s start with Intel’s current product portfolio which has shipped nearly 150 million units throughout its life cycle & with three product lineups which include the 12th Gen Alder Lake, 13th Gen Raptor Lake and 4th Gen Sapphire Rapids CPUs. Intel’s 14th Gen Raptor Lake Refresh CPUs were also launched recently on the same Intel 7 process node. But it looks like the focus is on the next-gen Intel 4 process node which will first launch on the 14th of December with Meteor Lake (1st Gen Core Ultra) CPUs.

Intel 7 is done with nearly 150 million units in aggregate of Alder Lake, Raptor Lake, and Sapphire Rapids already in the market. In addition, Emerald Rapids has achieved product release and began shipping this month.

In Q3, we began initial shipments of Meteor Lake on Intel 4, which we are now aggressively ramping on the most productive fleet of EUV tools in the industry, providing us with a greater than 20% capital efficiency advantage, compared to when EUV tools were first launched.

Pat Gelsinger – Intel CEO (Q3 2023 Earnings Call)

Intel Takes All Competition Seriously But Arm Developments Not Significantly Threatening

When asked about the recent developments in the PC segment, mostly pertaining to reports of Arm-based CPUs from NVIDIA, AMD & Qualcomm, Pat stated that while they take all kinds of competition seriously they don’t see these being that significant of a threat overall. Intel states that it has its own strong portfolio of chips that are ideally positioned within the client PC market and those would retain the competitive edge in the PC landscape.

When thinking about other alternative architectures like ARM, we also say, wow, what a great opportunity for our foundry business. And given the results I referenced before, we see that as a unique opportunity that we have to participate in the full success of the ARM ecosystem or whatever market segments that may be as an accelerant to our foundry offerings, which are now becoming, we think, very significant around the ARM ecosystem with our foundry packaging and 18A wafer capabilities as well.

Pat Gelsinger – Intel CEO (Q3 2023 Earnings Call)

Qualcomm recently announced its formal entrance within the PC segment with its Snapdragon X Elite CPUs based on the Oryon CPU architecture. The company hopes to get the chips out by mid-2024 and early performance/efficiency figures look very strong as we reported here.

Intel 3 For Granite Rapids & Sierra Forest Manufacturing-Ready By End of Q4 2023

Intel CEO states that Intel 3 is headed to becoming manufacturing-ready by the end of 2024 and it will be the main driver for the two major Xeon launches the very year, Sierra Forest in 1H 2024 and Granite Rapids in 2H 2024. The Sierra Forest CPUs will be utilizing the Sierra Glen E-Core while the Granite Rapids CPUs will be utilizing the Redwood Cove P-Core architecture.

Next-Gen Xeon CPU. Image Credits: Intel

Both CPUs will work on the same Birch Stream platform which will come in LGA 4710 and LGA 7529 flavors. Sierra Forest is going to feature up to 288 cores and will directly tackle AMD in the cloud data center segment that is currently occupied by the AMD EPYC Bergamo CPUs with Zen 4C cores.

Our Intel 3 process is tracking to be manufacturing ready by year-end, supporting our first two Intel 3 products, Sierra Forest and Granite Rapids. In fact, our production stepping of Sierra Forest is already out of fab, and what we expect to be the production stepping of Granite Rapids has already taped in and is in the fab now.

We are particularly excited by our move into the Angstrom era with Intel 20A and Intel 18A. Adding to our accelerating adoption of EUV are two key new innovations, RibbonFET and PowerVIA, representing the first fundamental change to the transistor and process architecture since we commercialized FinFET in 2012.

But we’re also combining that with Sapphire Rapids, Emerald Rapids, Gen 5, the road map for Sierra Forest and Granite Rapids which have much higher core counts, which will drive higher ASPs as well.

Pat Gelsinger – Intel CEO (Q3 2023 Earnings Call)

Intel 20A & 18A On Track Too – Arrow Lake 20A & Panther Lake 18A

Intel also reiterates its next-gen client products which include Arrow Lake on 20A and Panther Lake on 18A.

The company expects to achieve manufacturing readiness for 20A within the first half of 2024 as planned with Arrow Lake being the lead product which is expected to launch in the second half of 2024. Intel has also completed the invention phase of its RibbonFET & PowerVIA technologies that are going to drive the next level of power efficiency for client chips for desktops, laptops, and the AIPC segment.

For 18A, the process node is now available to external customers, and the first product to go in fab on 18A is Clearwater Forest, the successor to Sierra Forest, in Q1 2024. Panther Lake is also ready to head into fabs in Q1 2024. There is also an expanding list of IFS test chips that are going into fabs on the 18A process node and manufacturing readiness for the node is expected by 2H 2024.

We expect to achieve manufacturing readiness on Intel 20A in the first-half of 2024. Arrow Lake, our lead product on 20A, is already running Windows and demonstrating excellent functionality. Even more significant, we hit a critical milestone on Intel 18A with the 0.9 release of the PDK with imminent availability to external customers.

In simple terms, the invention phase of RibbonFET and PowerVIA is now complete, and we are racing towards production-ready, industry-leading process technology.

Our first products on Intel 18A will go into fab on schedule in Q1 ‘24 with Clearwater Forest for servers, Panther Lake for clients, and of course a growing number of IFS test chips. We expect to achieve manufacturing readiness for Intel 18A in second-half 24, completing our incredible five nodes and four years journey on or ahead of schedule.

Panther Lake, our 2025 client offering, heads into the fab in Q1 ’24 on Intel 18A.

Pat Gelsinger – Intel CEO (Q3 2023 Earnings Call)

Intel IFS Finds New Customers For 18A Node

For the Foundry Services, Intel has announced that the 18A node has found two new customers who are focusing on high-performance compute applications. Another customer is expected to land a deal with substantial progress being made and a formal contract entering negotiations prior to the end of 2024. Intel has already signed a deal with Synopsys and Arm to develop IPs for Intel 3 and Intel 18A process nodes. Intel has also previously won a US Government Project (DOE) with its 18A process node.

While Intel 18A reestablishes transistor leadership, we are racing to increase that lead. We announced that innovation are plans to lead the industry in a move to glass substrate for high density, performance, and unique optical capabilities.

A major customer committed to Intel 18A and Intel 3, which includes a meaningful prepayment that expedites and expands our capacity corridor for this customer. The customer is seeing particularly good power, performance and area efficiency in their design.

In addition, we are extremely pleased to announce today that we have signed with two additional 18A customers. Both are particularly focused in areas of high-performance compute and benefiting from power performance per unit silicon area. We have also made substantial progress with our next major customer and are expecting to conclude commercial contract negotiations before year-end.

Pat Gelsinger – Intel CEO (Q3 2023 Earnings Call)

AI PCs & Next-Gen Xeons To Be A Main Driver For 2024 & Beyond

Pat believes that the AI PC market holds tremendous potential and the company sees a $1 Trillion market by 2030. With client products such as Meteor Lake, Arrow Lake, Lunar Lake & Panther Lake, Intel hopes to become a major part of this developing ecosystem. Intel also established the world’s first AI PC Acceleration program which aims to enable AI across 100 Million PCs by 2025. Intel will be working with over 100 ISVs and 300 AI-accelerated features to bring AI to the masses in a huge way.

We are on a mission to bring AI everywhere. We see the AI workload as a key driver of the $1 trillion semiconductor TAM by 2030. We are empowering the market to seamlessly integrate and effectively run AI in all their applications.

We continue to see a strong ramp of our 4th Gen Xeon processor with the world’s top 10 CSPs now in general availability and improving strength from MNCs. During the quarter, we shipped our 1 millionth 4th Gen Xeon unit and are on track to surpass 2 million units next month.

More importantly, our successful road map execution is strengthening our product portfolio with Gen 4 and Gen 5 Xeon, Sierra Forest and Granite Rapids positioning us well to win back share in the data center.

Pat Gelsinger – Intel CEO (Q3 2023 Earnings Call)

Intel also reported that its 4th Gen Xeon CPUs codenamed Sapphire Rapids have now shipped 1 million units (Q3 2023) and are now aiming to surpass the 2 million unit mark by November 2023. Once again, Chipzilla is hopeful that Emerald Rapids, Granite Rapids & Sierra Forest will make them win back market share within the data center segment.

Gaudi AI Accelerators Deliver Big Boost, Competitive TCO Against NVIDIA GPUs

Lastly, Intel believes that Gaudi will be a major driver for its AI business as the accelerator offers very competitive performance at great TCO.

In addition, we expect to capture a growing portion of the accelerator market in 2024 with our suite of AI accelerators led by Gaudi, which is setting leadership benchmark results with third parties like MLCommons and Hugging Face. We are pleased with the customer momentum we are seeing from our accelerator portfolio and Gaudi in particular, and we have nearly doubled our pipeline over the last 90 days.

Our Gaudi road map remains on track with Gaudi3 out of the fab, now in packaging and expected to launch next year. And in 2025, Falcon Shores brings our GPU and Gaudi capabilities into a single product.

Pat Gelsinger – Intel CEO (Q3 2023 Earnings Call)

Overall, 2024 will be a big year for Intel as it tries to bounce back in the client and server market with strong product families and a new emphasis on AI. Expect more from in the coming quarter.

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