These past few months all eyes were fixed on AMD to provide innovation in terms of a new CPU architecture. When they managed to miss deadline after deadline the initial excitement turned into doubt whether AMD could deliver, and gradually into doubt whether their new architecture would be innovative enough to make a difference. Questions were raised whether it could merely be a marginal improvement over their current architecture. This week we finally saw AMD's new architecture debut which after all these months of eager anticipation seems to have been somewhat of an anti-climax.
Amidst all of this we seem to have conveniently forgotten that Intel has made major stride after major stride and nobody seems to have even noticed. Discussions about issues AMD is facing with manufacturing are plenty and widespread, but the fact that Intel is preparing to start shipping 45nm parts seems to be taken for granted, as if that is a small feat to accomplish. Granted, if AMD's new architecture was really a show-stopper, we would probably have seen 45nm (Penryn) Intel processors much sooner and there might have been more controversy about which architecture is the better one. What we see today is that Intel is quietly launching new products and technology without missing a beat, while at the same time reducing operating and manufacturing costs. Getting the 45nm process ready for high volume production is a big leap for Intel, as that means they will get more CPU's out of the same die, decreasing manufacturing costs per CPU and further increasing their revenues.
Intel's Core 2 architecture is still unbeaten, even by AMD's new architecture which means Intel can sit on their laurels for now and work on increasing the efficiency of their operation. In hindsight AMD obviously has always been viewed as the underdog, a notion that changed when their Athlon processors which were clearly superior over Intel's Pentium 4. The underdog position was clearly a favorable one in the public eye, especially when their products continued to best Intel's. Now that things are reversed again Intel is just moving forward without people paying too much attention, as if the feats they accomplished are small feats by any standard. Considering the problems AMD has faced making the move to a smaller manufacturing process you can only give credit to Intel for such a flawless execution to 45nm. I am looking forward to their new 45nm processors and the new chipsets that go with it. Innovation could very well be coming from the corporate giant that is Intel, rather than the "underdog" that is AMD.