The global chip shortage is affecting everybody, and we mean everybody. And as a way to help shore up supply among other things, Intel is going to spend a pretty penny improving their US-based factories.
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Intel headquarters in Santa Clara, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. Investors want to know if the world’s largest chipmaker will outsource more production when Intel Corp. reports results Thursday. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
VentureBeat reports that Intel plans to shell out a cool USD $3.5 billion to upgrade the production facilities in their New Mexico factory. The chipmaker says this is part of their plan to ramp up their domestic manufacturing, which also makes sense due to the scarcity of semiconductors these days.
TomsHardware states that during a recent interview on 60 Minutes, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger, among other things, discussed how the ongoing chip shortage has affected the company as a whole. It’s also worth noting that the New Mexico factory upgrade comes right after Intel moved to a new business model. This said model, as they claim, will involve them producing custom chips for third-party clients while expanding their in-house manufacturing capacity.
Barring the intention of helping increase CPU (and GPU) supply, Intel’s plans are obviously its answer to the juggernaut that is AMD Ryzen, which has seen continuous success since its release in 2017.
Read also: When Will The CPU And GPU Shortage End?
CPUs in the Pipeline
Unlike their direct competitor, Team Blue doesn’t rely on external semiconductor manufacturers such as TSMC to produce their chips. What this New Mexico facility upgrade could mean is that Intel chips can cost a little bit less when they come to the market, because they don’t have to be shipped from overseas (no tariffs and extra fees in the process).
Right now, the upcoming 12th Gen Alder Lake chips are preparing for a head-to-head battle with their Ryzen counterparts. With increased domestic production capabilities, these 12th gen processors (and succeeding generations) can find their way into more consumers’ hands and present a compelling alternative to AMD’s offerings.
(Photo : Ryan Quintal )
Why? Simple: the latest Ryzen processors from the 4000 and 5000 series are a bit out of reach for many consumers these days, either due to OEM exclusivity or extremely high demand. Plus, the 12th gen lineup is featuring a brand new architecture called big.LITTLE, which is a hybrid design, as PCGamer reports. On the high-end, Alder Lake will feature an 8+8 core configuration: 8 big, fast cores and 8 small, efficient cores which will help keep power draw to a minimum and potentially lead to increased performance-per-watt.
Moving to a New Era
There has been rumors of a supposed gaming-grade graphics card from Team Blue for some time now. And according to insiders, it’s pretty powerful.
For decades, the GPU market has been dominated by NVIDIA and AMD. But the so-called Xe-HPG graphics card from Intel is actually powerful enough to be faster than an RTX 3070, according to a report on Kitguru. The card is also alleged to have 16GB of GDDR6 memory on a 256-bit bus, with clock speeds reaching 2.2 GHz.
If this is the real deal, then the Xe-HPG cards will also be manufactured domestically in the US. It’s going to give another convincing alternative to AMD and NVIDIA graphics cards, which tend to fly off the shelves. Just imagine a three-way battle in the GPU market: consumers always win.
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The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20-Series GPUs is among the CES 2019 Innovation awards winners displayed during the CES Unveiled Las Vegas event in advance of the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, on January 6, 2018. – The massive consumer-electronics show opens to attendees on January 8. (Photo by DAVID MCNEW / AFP) (Photo credit should read DAVID MCNEW/AFP via Getty Images)
Perhaps the next couple of years will be Intel’s redemption arc, when they finally move on from aging manufacturing processes and actually start innovating.
Related: Global Semiconductor Shortage Won’t Be “Resolved” For A Few More Years, Intel CEO Says-How Pandemic Impacts It?
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Written by RJ Pierce
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