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Intel has launched its opening gambit in a triple-play to win back market share from its biggest rival Advanced Micro Devices, introducing its first chip based on a new architecture in five years.
The world’s largest chipmaker on Monday released its dual-core Xeon Processor 5100 Series, formerly codenamed Woodcrest, which is targeted at the server market where AMD has made the biggest inroads into its business.
Dell, the biggest PC maker, which last month said it would begin buying AMD processors for some of its servers for the first time, announced immediate availability of the new Intel chip in its server range.
Intel is rolling out microprocessors based on its new “Core” architecture over three months. Following Woodcrest, a chip for desktop computers codenamed Conroe will appear in July and a notebook computer chip codenamed Merom is due in August. The designs differ markedly from Intel’s last generation – the Pentium 4, introduced in 2000, followed by its high-end Itanium and Xeon processors in 2001.
They were built for speed, but Intel is now emphasising efficiency, or performance per watt, as the heat generated by chips and the power consumed has made the energy costs of running them more expensive than the actual hardware.
Intel said more than 200 models of servers and workstations from more than 150 manufacturers were planned for the Woodcrest chip. It would deliver a 135 per cent performance improvement and up to a 40 per cent reduction in energy consumption over previous Intel server products, according to the company.
Intel’s server chips have underperformed those of AMD over the past two years and its market share has slipped from 95 per cent to 78 per cent, according to Mercury Research.
But, at a presentation in San Francisco, Intel showed Woodcrest outperforming AMD’s equivalent Opteron processor, completing a task in 23 seconds compared to 30 seconds and using less power.
“IT managers we have spoken to suggest Intel’s platform has ‘caught up’ to AMD’s in higher-end applications,” said Glen Yeung, Citigroup analyst, in a note.
He added he expected a turning point for Intel’s shares as an expected second-quarter earnings miss was offset by the positive news of product launches and the promised restructuring at the company.
Intel shares closed 1.6 per cent higher in New York at $18.28, while AMD shares fell nearly 2 per cent to $24.66.