American Multinational Company Intel is in plans to give away PC and mobile market to AMD and stick to manufacturing of more innovative computing products in coming days. Since, the PC market has declined and smart phone chip making proving not so profitable, Intel has started focusing on other computing markets like Internet of Things, Memory, Silicon Photonics, and Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs).
At the Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference held last week, Intel officially announced that it has decided to cut about 12,000 jobs which hints clear transition away from smart phone chips and PCs.
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said at the conference that many innovations and dramatic changes are coming over the next two to three years, especially on the data center side of the business.
The future plans of Intel is to push a concept called the Rack Scale Architecture, which is meant to bring configuration flexibility and power efficiency to server installations. The idea is to decouple processing, memory and storage into storage boxes on a rack- a concept which is quite opposite to hyper converged architecture seen in data centers of today. With the new concept, more memory, storage and computing resources can be installed at the rack-level than on individual servers patched together and shared resources like cooling could help cut data center costs.
Brian also introduced a new server protocol concept called Intel’s OmniPath Fabric, a superfast interconnect technology at the conference. It will provide the protocols for CPUs to communicate at faster speeds with components inside a server and at the rack level. In the future, Intel envisions data transfers happening over beams of light, which will speed up OmniPath- ideal for analytics and database workloads, which need interconnect close to CPUs. The OmniPath Fabric interconnect is said to completely support Intel’s upcoming Xeon Phi Supercomputing chip code named Knights landing.
At the Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference, Intel also revealed that it plans to introduce silicon photonics in future, which will use light beams for speedy data transfers. This infrastructure will replace traditional copper wires and will bring faster data transfers across storage, processing and memory components on racks.
California based Intel plans to develop its Xeon Chips further and is also looking to develop co-processors called Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) to quickly perform specific tasks. Intel believed a killer combination of CPUs and FPGAs can be easily reprogrammed to speed up a wide range of workloads like Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning tasks.
FPGA technology was introduced to the world by Altera and Intel acquired it by paying $16.7 billion in 2014. The company’s next step is to pack an FPGA alongside its Xeon E5-2600 v4 server processor on a modular chip. Ultimately, FPGAs will be integrated on server chips, though Intel hasn’t provided a timeline.
Microsoft is using FPGAs to speed up the delivery of Bing search results, and by Baidu for faster image search.
Coming to storage, Intel is developing a memory called 3D Xpoint which is 10 times deeper than DRAM and 1,000 times faster and more durable than flash storage. It can be called as a hybrid between memory and storage.
Hence, with all this innovation in offering, one thing is clear. Intel will not show interest in offering processor chips to PC and mobile market in future as it plans to focus its resources more on server computing and IoT.
So, who’s going to be a leader in offering chips to PC and mobile market in coming days?
Obviously, it will be AMD and its Chinese allies with which the American silicon chip maker has tied up this year.