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Intel's Otellini talks profits, 14nm and Haswell

Intel's Otellini talks profits, 14nm and Haswell

Intel's Paul Otellini claims his company will be starting production on a 14nm process node by the end of the year.

Intel has been one of the companies hit by the slowing PC market, but you'd struggle to tell from its latest quarterly earnings report: the company has made $0.48 per share, higher than the $0.45 per share predicted for Q4 2012.

Despite being hit by the slowing consumer interest in buying new PCs, which has seen shipments of desktops and laptops shrink 6.4 per cent year-on-year, Intel's latest earnings call reported impressive net income of $11 billion - based on $13.5 billion revenue - for the quarter to make up a total of $53.3 billion for the 2012 financial year. Even after everything was deducted, Intel came out of one of the toughest quarters yet with a profit of $2.5 billion for the quarter - and that's despite spending $1 billion to buy back 47 million shares of previously-public stock.

'The fourth quarter played out largely as expected as we continued to execute through a challenging environment,' claimed Paul Otellini, current Intel president and chief executive. 'We made tremendous progress across the business in 2012 as we entered the market for smartphones and tablets, worked with our partners to reinvent the PC, and drove continued innovation and growth in the data centre. As we enter 2013, our strong product pipeline has us well positioned to bring a new wave of Intel innovations across the spectrum of computing.'

That isn't to say that Intel was unaffected by the overall market conditions, of course: the company's PC Client Group - responsible for desktop and laptop products - saw its revenue drop 1.5 per cent from Q3 and an impressive six per cent from the same quarter in 2011. The data centre group, meanwhile helped soften the blow with a seven per cent quarter-on-quarter growth and four per cent year-on-year. Coupled with a one per cent increase in gross margin and a tax rate of 23 per cent compared to an expected 27 per cent, that growth helped keep Intel well in the black.

Otellini had some interesting claims to make as he revealed the figures to analysts and press during the company's conference call. 'It's no longer necessary to choose between a PC and a tablet,' he claimed. 'Convertibles and detachable, combined with Windows 8 and Touch, provide a two for one, no compromise computing experience. Ultrabooks have also served to accelerate the trend towards thinner and lighter notebooks. For example, the volume of systems less than one-inch thick grew 18-fold last year in the U.S., and we expect to see the same trend continue around the world.'

Otellini was also hopeful for the company's smartphone and tablet products, boasting that there are now seven devices available across 20 countries using Intel's 32nm Medfield Atom system-on-chip processor - a start, but dwarfed by the number of devices using some variant on Cambridge-based rival ARM's IP. Otellini also discussed 22nm manufacturing, tri-gate technology and his company's partnership with ASML on extreme ultra-violet lithography (EUV) and 450mm wafer production.

'Looking ahead to 2013, I am excited about the strong pipeline of our products we have coming to market,' Otellini concluded. 'In the first half of this year we will launch Haswell, enabling one of the most significant changes to the PC since Centrino in 2003. Haswell was designed from the ground up to enable breakthrough innovations in form factor, battery life and usability. It will deliver the single largest generation-to-generation battery life improvement in Intel's history, and it is inspiring a new wave of ultra-sleek, convertible touch-based designs across our customer base.'

Otellini also promised 22nm Xeon and Atom products, targeting the micro-server market, later in the year, while stating that Intel would also be looking to begin production of its first 14nm products towards the end of the year - a bold claim when the company's competitors are still largely stuck on a 28nm process node.

11 Comments

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Griffter 18th January 2013, 12:44 Quote
M....$
Alecto 18th January 2013, 14:12 Quote
"Zion" being Xeon for the uninformed ?
Gareth Halfacree 18th January 2013, 14:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alecto
"Zion" being Xeon for the uninformed ?
Hah! I'd blame my spellchecker, but that one's entirely my fault. Fixed, ta!
Zurechial 18th January 2013, 16:41 Quote
I'm pinning my next big upgrade on Haswell to replace my i7 920 and X58 so I really hope the desktop chips are A: worth the wait despite a lack of competition for Intel in the high-end and B: On-time and concurrent with mobile parts, rather than being delayed in favour of pushing new parts for the tablet/ultrabook fad.

I was sorely tempted by Ivy Bridge because of the power-hungry nature of my i7 920 and the lack of SATA3/USB3 on my early X58; but I just couldn't justify it with Haswell around the corner.
Intel better deliver on more than just battery life!
rollo 18th January 2013, 18:27 Quote
Intels shares have took a battering since these results were posted down 6% and still going at last check.

They have made less money this quater than they did last year in the same quater. And with a slowing pc market i dout results will improve for next quater so i guess the shareholders are correct for once.

Also intrested in Haswell to replace an i7950 gaming build but will want to see some actual performance benifits in the games i play to really make me intrested in an upgrade.
MrGumby 18th January 2013, 20:43 Quote
From everything i keep reading regarding Haswel, power consumption appears to be the headline. With very little mention of performance increases. I remember thinking the low tdp of the ivybridge quads would make for some awesome overclocks, but heat density and heatspreader issues put paid to that.
Still be interesting to see how haswel turns out.
fluxtatic 19th January 2013, 10:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by rollo
Also intrested in Haswell to replace an i7950 gaming build but will want to see some actual performance benifits in the games i play to really make me intrested in an upgrade.

From what I've read so far, I doubt you'll see much difference in performance. You'll see it in power consumption, mostly. Will it be worth a $500 platform (motherboard and processor alone, naturally) upgrade? Depends on how much you care about power consumption, I suppose. The 950 is a 130W processor at just over 3GHz. It's not terribly unrealistic to think a comparable Haswell will be slightly faster, with a TDP around half that of the Nehalems. SB quads were 95W at 32nm, IB is 77W at 22nm, so I could see Haswell quads around 65W, easily.

In practical applications, I don't recall any SB or IB processors being much more than incremental upgrades over the previous generations of the Core i series. Native USB3 will there (as it should have been in IB, imo) and IB already has PCIe 3.0, iirc. Unless you have or want a quad-SLI system, though, even PCI 2.0 isn't nearly maxed out.

Assuming Steamroller is AM3+, I'm sticking with AMD for a while longer. Next full build I do, though, I'll take a long, hard look at Intel for the first time ever.
Jimbob 19th January 2013, 13:23 Quote
[QUOTE=Zurechial]I was sorely tempted by Ivy Bridge because of the power-hungry nature of my i7 920 and the lack of SATA3/USB3 on my early X58; QUOTE]

I was in the same boat but caved in and upgraded the other week. The 920 served me well running at 3.9GHz for years but the lack of S-ATA 3 was a pain and the lure of the 3770K was too much. Compared to the 920 the 3770k is amazing, overclocks higher, runs much cooler nice little upgrade but I certainly see you're point I'm sure when Haswell turns up I'll have wished I waited!
djzic 20th January 2013, 16:02 Quote
I'm hanging on to a Q8300 waiting for Haswell, I realize the performance might not be that much greater but I would like to build a passive build if possible so TDP is important. If there is not a significant difference in TDP or performance I'll simply get IB for cheap while stock's cleared out :)
Xir 21st January 2013, 09:31 Quote
Very profitable plus stock buyback and still the stockprice is so low...
runadumb 21st January 2013, 11:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zurechial
I'm pinning my next big upgrade on Haswell to replace my i7 920 and X58 so I really hope the desktop chips are A: worth the wait despite a lack of competition for Intel in the high-end and B: On-time and concurrent with mobile parts, rather than being delayed in favour of pushing new parts for the tablet/ultrabook fad.

I was sorely tempted by Ivy Bridge because of the power-hungry nature of my i7 920 and the lack of SATA3/USB3 on my early X58; but I just couldn't justify it with Haswell around the corner.
Intel better deliver on more than just battery life!

I'm also in the same boat, although I got into the 920 a bit late (was waiting on SB then gave up after the millionth delay) so I have SATA3.
I'm still not sure if its needed. The only thing that I feel really pushes my processor and makes me feel its too slow are emulators but the lower power consumption is very tempting.
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