Intel Vision 2024 Event

By Patrick Moorhead - April 16, 2024

The Six Five team discusses Intel Vision 2024 Event

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Patrick Moorhead: So the Intel Vision event was a 50, 50, I’ll call it NDA versus public event. I always need to watch very carefully what I say, publicly but in addition to analysts, Intel had its biggest customers, its biggest partners here at the event and a ton of Intel salespeople and of course executive, Dan, you and I got the chance to chat with the big guy, big Pat, Pat Gelsinger in addition to the leader of the PC group.

Daniel Newman: Michelle Johnson, Justin Hotard.

Patrick Moorhead: Justin Hotard, just a lot of great stuff. And also the leader of Edge as well. So the executive access was incredible. So two big announcements here. One was Gaudi three and there wasn’t a tremendous amount of new information about Gaudi three, but it is sampling and for certain workloads it does operate quicker than NVIDIA for training and inference. And you might be saying, “Hey, a 50% improvement doesn’t matter,” but it does. This is classic accelerator versus GPU. If your accelerator can’t be faster and more efficient, you’re doing something very wrong because GPUs on the whole are more easily programmable but less efficient. And the big story that Intel came with is its programmability across its multiple variants of silicon.

Now, one API doesn’t hit it all yet. I think Intel will sell, I would say single digit billions of this product before we get to what I think is going to be more of a transformative opportunity for Intel. And that’s 2025 when you have the combination of CPUs with onboard inference, when you have Falcon Shore GPU sprinkled with Gaudi three ASIC juice inside of it and then connected with an end-to-end software platform. And Matt is my AI hardware guy. He’s piecing together the TCO story kind of on a generational basis because the one thing we know with GPUs is you’re going to get three to four generations of training or inference out of it, whether you’re doing ML, DL, generative AI, mixture of experts, whatever’s going to be next here.

And I think that’s a critical piece when you’re a hyperscaler or even an OEM. I did get some confidence with Michael Dell showing up with a really cool video and listen, he was the only executive called out in Jensen’s piece. It’s not like you talk about AI accurately being a zero-sum game here, but Dell is clearly excited about the Gaudi three. I need to do the double click to see exactly what that means. The final thing, I don’t want to steal everything here is on AI PC, we got clarity on the Lunar Lake roadmap. Lunar Lake systems could literally ship in October. Right. In my head I was always thinking Lunar Lake was December 32nd, right? Lunar Lake has 45 NPU TOPS, 100 TOPS system-wide. But I was always expecting it to miss the holidays and I think this is a positive thing overall in the market.

Qualcomm will still be first with big NPU and I do believe that from a power PPW, I think Qualcomm will likely still be on top, but for Intel to be pulling this in is monumental. Listen, I’m not Babe Ruthing it, right? They could find something late in testing that requires a metal spin, but boy are we getting closer and closer. So I think what we have here is a three-horse race between Qualcomm, Intel, and AMD. Qualcomm I believe will have the operating system first. AMD and Intel will likely get it in the first part of 2025, but it is on baby. The super cycle is strong and I talked about this on CNBC and Yahoo Finance.

Daniel Newman: Anywhere else? The Six Five dude. You talked about it on The Six Five. Don’t worry. Everybody needs to hear this once again. Pat, the Intel show to me kind of pointed in two directions. One is in the PC space in particular, you just can’t rule the company out. I know so many people, the Twitterati all want to basically say it’s over, right? Everything’s going to be an AIPC. Intel’s late, they lost. Whether it’s been the articles saying that Qualcomm’s big NPU was going to dominate the market, whether it’s been AMD first to market shipping the, what was it, 17 TOP AI PC. Pat flashed once again, what is it? 40 million quote-unquote AI PCs.

Now again, what an AI PC is really hasn’t been starkly defined as one thing or staunchly is the right word. Staunchly defined as one thing. I mean, we know that 10 TOPS people have questioned that, whether or not that’s real AI PC, but Intel has made the claim it’s sticking in the market. People get it, but the thing about Intel is you just can’t underestimate the provenance of the relationships that it has in the go-to market. It has had the retail relationships, the distribution relationships for the longest time. It has the OEMs, the designs, the scale, the MDF program, the support, the ecosystem, the advertising, and the marketing. Disrupting that is going to be complicated. It is not a, Oh my gosh, we come up with a better mousetrap, we have a better NPU, we have better integration potentially with a Windows on Arm and everyone’s just going to flock away. It’s not how behavior works.

Like you said, we’ve had better Android designs than Apple phones for long times and people won’t leave it because of one stinking feature. We are going to see a slow distribution. I do think Qualcomm’s doing some great things. I do think AMD has some strength in its roadmap, but I think Intel proved and by pulling this forward, I think it was almost like a little card trick up the sleeve like, hey, here we go. You thought you were gaining some market advantage, but we know how to play the game too and like you said, having this out by Christmas or holidays, that’s a huge unit volume opportunity. That’s going to change the calculus as people like to say. On the data center side, the Gaudi thing, Xeon 6 is obviously pretty important too, and I mean we didn’t spend a lot of time talking about it, but Pat, you and I have had this kind of repeat cycle of trying to explain to the world, like a lot of inference is going to be done on CPUs.

All this existing cloud data centers and these data centers that have been built around general purpose computing are still going to be there and they’re still going to be doing things to inference and AI against data. Our ERP systems, our supply chain management tools, our CRM systems, a lot of the types of inferencing we need to do does not require a big GPU. And also obviously new architectures that might include extensions plus Gaudi plus Xeon six will be able to offer some really powerful optionality for customers. We’re seeing an entire market coming together for the first time in history to have an answer to NVIDIA. I call it the NVIDIA is Apple and everyone else is Android.

And so there’s a desire in the marketplace to have an Android, to have another alternative. This doesn’t mean that NVIDIA doesn’t have a tremendous success path in its future. It just really means AI is really big and there’s going to be a really significant distribution of how AI gets deployed. It’s not one way, it’s not one thing, it won’t be one company. Intel has a long road ahead to try to play in AI. They do need to get their GPU to market. They need one API at scale. That abstraction to be able to handle all the software and make it very, very easy to compile and put on Intel hardware will help them gain momentum. But the TLDR, as I like to say, is you can’t rule them out, not on PCs, not on data center. And of course we didn’t even talk about Foundry, but we talked a lot about that last week. We’ll come back to that another time.

Patrick Moorhead

Patrick founded the firm based on his real-world world technology experiences with the understanding of what he wasn’t getting from analysts and consultants. Ten years later, Patrick is ranked #1 among technology industry analysts in terms of “power” (ARInsights)  in “press citations” (Apollo Research). Moorhead is a contributor at Forbes and frequently appears on CNBC. He is a broad-based analyst covering a wide variety of topics including the cloud, enterprise SaaS, collaboration, client computing, and semiconductors. He has 30 years of experience including 15 years of executive experience at high tech companies (NCR, AT&T, Compaq, now HP, and AMD) leading strategy, product management, product marketing, and corporate marketing, including three industry board appointments.