ARC 2011: Processors


In a year when Intel began real volume shipments of its Sandy Bridge technology and next-generation Core i5 and Core i7 processors, the company's highest score in the ARC survey came in the product quality and reliability subcategories. Here, Intel did even better than it did in 2010, when it also scored its highest marks in quality and reliability.

The processors are generally much higher-performing and efficient than Intel's previous generation of PC chips. In addition, solution providers gave Intel its second-highest rating for product compatibility and ease of integration. That's particularly noteworthy because, during the course of the past two decades, some have noted that Intel's socket technology changes--during processor upgrade cycles--created logistics issues. The results of the 2011 ARC survey indicate Intel has made, to say the least, long strides to reverse that.

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Overall, Intel scored higher than Nvidia in every single one of the three subcategories in a year of major disruptions to technology use patterns. On the flip side, its lowest scores came in the subcategory criteria of services opportunity and marketing support--but even in those areas, Intel registered significant improvements over the 2010 Annual Report Card.

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Nvidia has not previously been head-to-head against Intel in the ARC survey. However, its standing as both a market power in the GPU space, as well as the provider of the Tegra 2 CPUs used in most Android-based tablets that have shipped to market this year, now has put it in a tete-a-tete against Intel both in the ARC survey as well as the market in general.

The findings show that Nvidia does have a gap to make up against Intel in the overall processors space in the channel.

Also, AMD, which faced off against Intel and lost last year, was not in this year's survey due to lack of survey response.