My thoughts on Intel over the last 10 years (updated with a tiny defence for Intel)
Updated: Jun 30, 2019
Update: Please scroll to the bottom to read the update that I added in Intel's defence~
Okay, let me explain. If you've been to the Funnies Corner and saw all the memes, you may notice I have an issue with Intel. Allow me to go into detail. Firstly: I have no issues with Intel's engineers, their developers, the people who work on their CPU designs and technology, they are all very talented people and Intel has some amazing technology in its portfolio. I like tech! So why don't I like Intel as a company?
The problem is, Intel has spent the last decade holding back progress on the consumer desktop market by trickling down its advances in manufacturing processes and designs and limiting them to quad-core parts and charging the same or more each year, whilst removing features (HSF, unlocked multipliers, HyperThreading on recent i7 parts) and reducing build quality (starting with Ivy Bridge they switched from Solder to low quality paste). The increased core counts on mainstream CPUs have come recently, in response to AMD's Ryzen, but even with fierce competition, they are still far above what I consider "fairly priced". The higher core counts made possible by switching to 22nm FinFET, 14nm FinFET dies, etc, where all placed behind enormous paywalls that only the wealthy could afford, to drop over a thousand dollars on a CPU alone.
Over the last 10 years Intel is responsible for holding back desktop consumer computing and locking higher performance behind those paywalls, locking low-income people out the ability to create content faster, stream their hobbies etc, this actually hurt human progress no matter how you look at it, all in the name of maximum profits: spent on R&D that Intel did not give back to the consumer in any way. From a gamer perspective: Game developers on PC had no incentive to develop games to use more than Quad-cores, since only a very tiny percentage of gamers could afford more. Ryzen is fixing that, especially as the new consoles get Zen CPUs but we are still feeling the effects of that stagnation today.
But AMD wasn't competing, it's their fault!
This is somewhat true. AMD dropped the ball with Bulldozer and as a result Intel was given free reign to strangle the market into stagnation in the name of profit. But that doesn't mean I have to like Intel for it. Would AMD do the same if the roles were reversed? Probably. It's just capitalism, but that hasn't happened yet, and Intel has a history of playing dirty against AMD even when AMD had a technological advantage (remember Athlon 64). I hope the same doesn't happen now that Ryzen is truly going to be better in almost all metrics.
Here's the deal, I'm passionate. Highly passionate, about my interests, including tech and computing. And I want everyone to have access to this technology and performance to push the envelope every day. And Ryzen did just that, but even now, Intel are charging unfair prices for their products - just look at the current lineup versus the Ryzen lineup and you can see it in action.
Intel's greed damages human progress, and I absolutely wish them to lose billions of dollars in sales to Ryzen over the next few years so their investors/shareholders and management have no option other than to level their prices to the benchmark of consumer computing value: Ryzen.
Sorry. I'm just passionate, and I want Intel to share its technology, expertise, performance and advancements with the masses.
I'm not an investor in any company and I have no affiliation with any of them. I'm just enthusiastic and passionate about my interests. For better or for worse.
Thanks for reading. <3
I'm going to update my Rant here with a bit of extra information that came to me just now, that may explain some of the reason why Intel commands such a high premium for their CPUs.
Intel also develops its own process technology for its chips
I admit, I get a bit emotional and carried away sometimes, because, well that's just who I am. Now, I feel my rant is still legit, as these premiums I feel are often unfair, but it's worth noting that Intel also develops its own process technology, and that R&D costs a lot of money. The premium it charges is likely to help cover those costs.
AMD is buying its process from Global Foundries (and soon, TSMC) and that is vastly cheaper for them than Intel using its own Fabs. Intel is too proud of them to allow a third party fab to produce its designs and it would negatively hurt their efficiency and performance, something Intel doesn't, obviously, want.
But this is a problem, for stagnation as I said is real, but it might be less about Intel just being a greedy company. My complains still stand, in that progress was slowed down and due to some issues with their new technology (remember delays to 14nm) they didn't pass down the advances of the smaller node to the consumer (more cores in a similar die size), because they likely wanted to pocket the cash to cover up their mess in R&D for that process. I guess that's why we got Coffee Lake with 6 cores in 2018, since they felt comfortable that yields were good enough to add more value, or you know, having their butt kicked by Ryzen.