Customer designed ARM chips will give Intel headaches
SAN FRANCISCO: CHIPMAKER Intel is slowly winding up its Haswell hype machine ahead of what is expected to be a splashy launch in June.
Intel has been revealing high level details of its upcoming Haswell processors for a long time, such as its statement at IDF 2012 that a Haswell 10W TDP part will be pitched at laptops. The firm not only shown off running Haswell silicon at the recent Game Developer Conference but also announced that its HD Graphics 15.31 driver released this week is designed specifically for Haswell processors.
There's no doubt that Intel's Haswell chip will be the big semiconductor product launch of 2013, but it is rare to see Intel give away so many details of its upcoming processor line, given that AMD is doing relatively little to push the firm's third generation Ivy Bridge Core processors to the limit. However Intel's prelaunch announcements show a company that wants to stress the efficiency of its processors above everything else.
Andrew Feldman, best known for leading Seamicro and who is currently corporate VP and GM of AMD's Server Business Unit, told The INQUIRER that the cost of developing ARM based processors is so low that chip vendors' biggest customers will be able to subsidise chip development cost and buy the products on a cost-plus basis. Feldman's future might sound extreme, and it is in the present day semiconductor industry, but ARM based processors are considerably quicker and easier to develop and do not require leading edge process nodes to have the energy efficiency that Intel gains with its advanced manufacturing capabilities.