How did Intel succeed in 2022? In many ways, this has been a bumpy year for the Blue Team. Let’s get straight to the point and take a closer look at where Intel has made good progress this year and where things are more or less off the beaten track.
In early 2022, Intel made progress in reclaiming desktop market share from AMD with strong Alder Lake processor sales, followed strongly by the launch of new 13th generation CPUs later in the year.
Intel released its Raptor Lake processors in October 2022, or at least the first batch of desktop CPUs led by its flagship Core i9-13900K. And while this was ‘just’ a refresh of Alder Lake on paper, the 13th-gen newcomers added a lot of morale to the mix, in addition to Intel’s 12th-gen. Raptor Lake was packed with a lot more efficiency cores, increased the cache, and performance overall got a decent boost over Alder Lake.
The flagship 13900K surprised us, especially in terms of multi-core performance, and while it’s power-hungry and clearly not cheap, it’s a seriously decent heavyweight chip. Further down the Raptor Lake lineup were CPUs that still shone, and the Core i5-13600K has become a more affordable option that offers great gaming performance at an excellent value proposition.
There’s no doubt that Intel won the mid-range chip battle here against AMD’s Ryzen 7600X, which hit the shelves just before the 13600K, and while these CPUs actually matched well for performance, Team Red lost due to upgrade costs. Migration to the new Zen 4 platform. (So, a new motherboard – still no really wallet-friendly options on the table at the time of this writing – plus DDR5 RAM is mandatory, whereas cheaper DDR4 memory can still be used with Raptor Lake).
In short, Raptor Lake was a big win for Intel in 2022, with AMD dropping the prices of its (still very new) Zen 4 CPUs (especially for Black Friday and beyond). In short, the Core i9-13900K also stole the crown of the fastest-ever overclock for a desktop CPU – a staggering 8.8 GHz. This highlighted the potential this silicon has for enthusiast overclockers.
Not Intel’s very magical Alchemist GPU launch
In 2022, Intel finally released its Arc Alchemist discrete graphics cards to beat AMD and Nvidia. This was the big moment when Intel started to establish itself as a third player in the graphics card market and inject much-needed competitiveness, but sadly the beginning of Arc GPUs (for laptops and desktops) can be described in two words: wobbly and wobbly. Of course these two words mean the same thing, but they were so common in the early days of Arc that it doubles down on the staggering nature of the launch.
We’ve witnessed lags, GPUs only launching in Asia, Intel’s promises that things aren’t that far off, and then more lag… you get the picture. In short, disappointment reigned on many fronts, from the delay of launch dates – or even the failure to provide those dates – to the performance of Arc graphics cards emerging from 2022 (budget-oriented A3 series and high-end A7). ). Problematic drivers and performance issues have become thorny issues for many games.
There were even rumors at one point that Intel was in such bad shape with its Arc GPUs that the firm considered dropping the entire project, Team Blue vehemently denied this and has since proven its seriousness to continue with Arc.
In fact, at the end of the year, Intel made some serious strides in Arc GPU drivers, delivering huge performance gains for some games. That’s an optimistic note for 2022 at least, and if Intel can continue to fix drivers and price them competitively, the story of their new GPUs could have a happy ending for Arc. This is definitely not what we predicted mid-year, that’s for sure.
It’s clear that Nvidia is vulnerable on the budget side of the market, where it remains a much lesser priority for Team Green and ultimately appears to be a definite area where Intel can leverage against its dominant GPU power.
XeSS, Intel’s equivalent to Nvidia DLSS or AMD FSR, had an impressive start in its early days, quietly taking its place as a force in the world of framerate boosting.
What we need to remember here is that in their first incarnations, DLSS and FSR had their fair share of stumbling blocks, and Intel’s boot salvo with XeSS was relatively impressive in this first implementation. Along with the progress made in the Arc graphics driver we just mentioned, this bodes well for the future.
Laying the process accelerator
Intel closed 2022 with a big talk about how it’s accelerating chip development and manufacturing, including chip manufacturing and the move to more advanced processes (i.e. faster, more efficient chips) for third parties like MediaTek. And lags on that front have been something Intel has suffered a lot in the past, you may remember (stuck on 14nm refreshes of their CPUs for what seems like forever).
Still, that’s all in the past, according to Ann Kelleher, Intel’s Vice President and General Manager of Technology Development, who said in December that Intel is not only on track, but actively ahead of the game in some areas. Team Blue is already mass-producing 7nm chips – this is the next process from existing 10nm silicon – and the company is ready to start with the next step, 4nm.
This is the code for “Beware AMD – we’re coming to steal more space from Ryzen processors”.
Floating profits and layoffs
Progress in sharpening and launching new processes may be back on track, and while plans to retake chip manufacturing leadership continue, this has led Intel to make difficult decisions as profit levels drop significantly in 2022 (the big drop in PC). sales don’t help Team Blue, of course).
You may recall that Intel closed its Optane memory business in July, and then in September CEO Pat Gelsinger warned that Intel’s performance would continue to decline in vital arenas (predicted to decline) in the future, such as server CPUs. actually continue until 2025).
All of this culminated in the October announcement of cost-cutting plans, which include “significant” staff layoffs, with Intel looking to save nearly $3 billion (and many more in the future) over the next year. Up to $10 billion in annual cost reductions in 2025).
Intel has had success stories in 2022 that more than just solidifies the progress made, especially with its consumer processors and the Raptor Lake and Alder Lake follow-ups, but that’s when server market challenges played out against an extremely challenging and disappointing Arc GPU backdrop. launch, along with declining profits and layoffs.
It’s hard to call the year favorable for Intel, then, but the company seems to be realigning itself to be able to position itself for better things to come. Definitely in terms of supporting chip fabrication capabilities and staying on track to move forward with new processes without delays – Meteor Lake CPUs remain targets for the 2023 launch.
And let’s not forget that Arc graphics cards aren’t completely washed out in 2022. It was a bad start for GPUs, let’s not mind it, but Intel’s drivers have made good progress with performance gains as the year draws to a close (and XeSS has set itself up nicely). Indeed, Intel had a meaningful 4% discrete GPU market share by the end of the year with the potential to achieve more in the budget arena in 2023.
There is a feeling that the negative aspects of the past year will perhaps turn into more positive ones – leaving aside the unfortunate job losses, of course.