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Intel preps for its Broadwell launch, but businesses aren't waiting for the new CPUs

Mark Hachman | Aug. 8, 2014
Intel said this week that it will introduce "new products" at the IFA 2014 conference in Berlin this September. The company is being coy about the specifics of what it will announce, but all signs are pointing to Intel's next generation of Core microprocessors, code-named "Broadwell."

Intel said this week that it will introduce "new products" at the IFA 2014 conference in Berlin this September. The company is being coy about the specifics of what it will announce, but all signs are pointing to Intel's next generation of Core microprocessors, code-named "Broadwell."

Intel senior vice president and general manager of personal computing Kirk Skaugen will deliver a keynote address on Sept. 5 at IFA. He "will reveal new products and Intel's plans to usher in a new era of computing devices with its latest technology," according to an Intel press release.

On Wednesday I sat down with Intel's Tom Garrison, vice president and general manager of the business client platform division, to shed a little more light on what those IFA announcements might be. Garrison explained Intel's wire-free future, then delved into why businesses aren't even waiting for Broadwell machines. His comments should be interesting to anyone who uses PCs in a work environment.

Broadwell: long overdue

Intel actually began delivering Broadwell chips to customers this past quarter, if only in sample quantities for testing and prototyping new products. Featuring a 14-nm process, Broadwell is a shrink of the company's current "Haswell" design, which is based on a 22-nm process.

Last October, Intel chief executive Brian Krzanich said that the company had run into a manufacturing glitch transferring Haswell to the new 14-nm process, and that production would be delayed until the first quarter of 2014. 

Obviously Q1 2014 has come and gone. Intel executives haven't officially revealed what will be announced at IFA, but simply connecting the dots tells us that the long-overdue Broadwell will probably be the star of Intel's party in Berlin. Several PC and tablet announcements are also expected at IFA, so it's a good bet that Intel and its OEM partners will be aligning their efforts at the conference.

Businesses are buying PCs now, before Broadwell 

On Wednesday, the IDC research firm said that the economy has improved sufficiently for worldwide IT spending to increase 4.5 percent during the second half of 2014, or 3.1 percent if smartphones are excluded. And, yes, that's good news for Intel.

Intel's Krzanich said during the company's second-quarter earnings call that a number of developments — including new PC form factors, new price points, and the need to refresh aging Windows XP systems (including an estimated 600 million PCs four years or older) — will prompt "good growth" in the business PC space through the end of the year. The consumer segment, he added, "remains challenging."

Businesses, however, aren't necessarily waiting for Broadwell. 

"I think you can see the answer right now, based on our [quarterly] results," said Intel's Garrison when asked if businesses would wait for Broadwell. "People are not waiting. The economic benefits are certainly strong to refresh, and so businesses are purchasing now."

 

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