In my last post, I spoke about Intel’s new 22nm 3d transistor technology. While I’m fairly excited to see what Intel is bringing to the table, I am concerned about what it may mean for the industry. The CPU manufacturing industry (like all other industries) has relied on market competition to keep forward motion a priority. If what Intel has been brewing is really all it’s cracked up to be, AMD (Intel’s largest desktop/server CPU competitor) has reason to be shaking in their boots.
For years, I have shared a slight hatred for all things Intel with many, many other true nerds out there in computerdom. This is not necessarily because of Intel’s products (some of them have been alright), rather, because of the way Intel has (particularly in the past) perpetuated its market leadership position by covering up poorly engineered CPUs in marketing hype and a massive advertising budget. In essence, Intel is the perfect example of the rich kid down the street who continues to succeed simply because he’s rich.
Specifically, Intel has used its riches in two ways. Primarily, Intel has relied on its deep pockets to fund a marketing beast that has positioned Intel as the market leader. Much of the consumer world has grabbed onto this notion hook, line, and sinker. Since Intel’s name is more visible, they must make the best chips, right?
In addition, Intel’s riches have allowed them to construct the best chip CPU manufacturing facilities in the world, leaving AMD with the second best. As I briefly pointed out in my last post, any time a die shrink (essentially, new machinery is installed that allows more transistors to fit in a smaller space) occurs, CPUs automatically gain a performance boost and a power consumption drop. Because of its better manufacturing facilities, Intel is always able to die shrink earlier than AMD. Basically, this allows Intel to squeeze extra life out of mediocre CPU architectures designs.
My proposed solution?
IBM needs to buy out AMD. AMD needs some serious cash to stay competitive. IBM has it.