Intel's Dominance of the CPU Market Coming to an End?

TechTalk

Published on February 23rd, 2017 | by Subhash Nair

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Intel’s Dominance of the CPU Market Coming to an End?

Hello and welcome to Techtalk, a new segment on dsf.my that covers the latest developments in the consumer electronics segment. Our first piece of news is a big one concerning the personal computing market: the return of AMD, Intel’s nemesis.

But first, here’s a little background to give the story context.

Computers have been around for decades now, only in the late 90s to early 2000s did we see desktops coming into homes and becoming part of everyday life. Of course, they’ve been largely supplanted by smartphones and tablets for light internet use. But for many office workers, gamers, and enthusiasts, the desktop is far from dead. In fact, parts of the PC-related industry are expected to grow well into 2019.

Back in the heyday of the PC, when putting together a PC took hours instead of minutes, two brands stuck out: Intel and AMD. These brands manufactured the CPUs, the brains of the computer, so to speak. And while Intel was always seen as the larger, more established player, AMD was always able to give them a hard time. Here’s a game from 2003 and how AMD were winning back then.

This chart is from an old Anandtech article

Many aspects of modern day computing were brought to market quicker and at a lower price point by AMD.

In fact, between 2000 and 2012, AMD have frequently disrupted the processor market. Setting world records, taking 80% of the market (at one point), and just living out the underdog story to its fullest.

Then, tragedy.

We’ll get into that in a separate post (or just watch this video).

What’s important is this:

AMD hasn’t been able to compete with Intel in years. Their current CPUs under the ‘FX’ name are more than 2 generations behind in terms of performance and efficiency.

Since 2012, Intel has been able to dominate the CPU market in the following ways:

  1. Premium Pricing – Sure, Intel’s current line up is decent for budget gamers. But as this video points out (skip to 5:09), only TWO of Intel’s processors make any sense at all from a price-to-performance perspective. Everything else is just a lot of money for very little returns.

  2. Marginal Improvements – Before AMD’s last attempt at CPUs, every new generation of processors yielded huge improvements. You could go from Core 2 Quad to Core i5 and see a huge difference in performance. Today, it would difficult to make the case to upgrade from a 4th generation Core i5 to a 7th generation Core i5 from Intel even for hardcore gamers.
  3. Confusing Marketing – Speaking of the ‘Core i5’, how many PC users understand what it stands for. Is it a 5-core? it the Core i3 a 3-core? Is the Core i3 OLDER than the Core i7? Intel has been using the ‘Core’ brand name for about 7 years+ now and there has ALWAYS been a Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7. Is a Core i7 from the year 2010 better than a Core i3 from 2017? No. But because the marketing is so misleading, this is an easy mistake to make.

 

Just last night, AMD announced that they were finally back with a competitive product. Of course, to generate more profit, they’re releasing their most powerful CPUs first (mainstream and budget CPUs might be released later in 2017). In our next post, we’ll show you just how big of an impact AMD’s return is.

 


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