Intel reports that it has had the "best quarter" ever, confirms Xe DG1 dGPU is now powered on
Intel CEO Bob Swan has presented this quarter's earnings report on Thursday and has termed it the "best quarter in company history". The company has generated US$19.2 billion in revenue exceeding expectations by US$1.2 billion. Intel's healthy earnings can be primarily attributed to the enterprise market, but Swan did concede that the company has taken a beating in the consumer desktop market.
Intel also told investors that it has boosted 14nm production capacity by 25% wafer starts per month (WSPM) for 2019 while also ramping up 10nm production. However, as Anandtech notes, this does not mean 25% more CPUs as Intel still faces challenges in accommodating bigger die sizes for higher core count processors, which means the higher WSPM will be just about sufficient to meet current demand.
We expect our second-half PC client supply will be up double-digits compared to the first-half. And we expect to further increase our PC client supply by mid-to-high single-digits in 2020. But that growth has not been sufficient. We are letting our customers down, and they are expecting more from us. PC demand has exceeded our expectations and surpassed third-party forecasts. We now think the market is stronger than we forecasted back in Q2, which has made building inventory buffers difficult. We are working hard to regain supply demand balance. But we expect to continue to be challenged in the fourth quarter."
Intel Xe DG1 GPU is now "alive"
In the earnings call, CEO Bob Swan also confirmed that the Intel's first discrete GPU, the Xe DG1, has achieved "power on exit", an important milestone. What this essentially means is that we now officially have a third discrete GPU player in the house to challenge the likes of NVIDIA and AMD.
While the first Xe dGPU is expected to land some time in 2020, it is best to keep expectations tempered for this release. We had reported earlier about a driver leak that mentioned Xe DG1, DG2, and various iGPUs that are in the pipeline. In that driver, DG1 was only indicated with an LP designation indicating that it could be a 'low power' entry-level dGPU meant for testing the waters. DG2, which is expected to land sometime in 2021, could be a 7nm part with first applications in HPC and AI segments before being available for consumer.
The new Xe dGPU is also expected to allow for hybrid iGPU+dGPU configurations as was revealed in recent Linux driver patch notes. We are not sure if Xe would also allow for SLI/CrossFire-like configurations given that both NVIDIA and AMD themselves aren't too keen on multi-GPU setups at least for the consumer market. In any case, we should be hearing more from Intel through CES and Computex next year so stay tuned.