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Channel programs News

The 10 Top News Stories Of 2019

Rick Whiting

Increased regulatory scrutiny of the major Internet companies, the rise of Everything-as-a-Service, the heated competition between Intel and a resurgent AMD, and a controversial Pentagon cloud IT contract made for an interesting 2019.

6. Intel-AMD Battle Heats Up

On Nov. 25 AMD debuted its new mainstream processor, the 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X, and the first two third-generation Threadripper processors (with 16 and 24 cores) – and provided a glimpse of a 64-core Threadripper CPU under development for 2020. One week later AMD announced an ecosystem of manufacturers developing mini PCs powered by Ryzen Embedded processors – a move see as challenging Intel’s dominance in the mini PC space.

The moves were the latest shots in what proved to be an increasingly heated battle between Intel, the long-time market leader in the microprocessor market, and AMD, the rejuvenated chip manufacturer that has been pushing the envelope of microprocessor technology.

AMD's volley came as Intel was dealing with the fallout from an ongoing CPU shortage that plagued the company's OEM and channel partners throughout 2019. "We're letting our customers down, and they're expecting more from us," Intel CEO Bob Swan said in October during the company's third-quarter earnings call.

In July AMD launched its 7-nanometer Ryzen 3000 processors for the client computing market, posing a challenge to rival Intel. That prompted one solution provider to tell CRN: "It's no longer a forgone conclusion that people should buy Intel anymore." One month later the company unveiled the latest generation of its EPYC processors, new 7-nanometer products with 64 cores targeting the all-important server market, boasting that they provided higher performance and lower cost of ownership in the datacenter compared to Xeon chips from Intel.

In reporting the results of AMD’s third quarter, CEO Lisa Su said sales of EPYC server processors surged 50 percent after the launch of the new “Rome” chip, contributing to the company’s best quarter for revenue since 2005. The company has highlighted design wins such as Dell Technologies’ use of the second-generation EPYC Rome processor in its new PowerEdge servers.

Intel hasn’t been sitting still for all this. The same week AMD debuted its new EPYC chips Intel debuted a lineup of next-generation Xeon Scalable processors, code named Cooper Lake, with 56 cores for high-performance computing and artificial intelligence workloads.

In the face of the increased competition Intel has been highlighting its own customer and ecosystem wins and touting the advantages of the company's data-centric platform strategy with its expanding portfolio of CPUs, memory, accelerators and software. In a CRN interview in July Intel U.S. Channel Chief Jason Kimrey told CRN that channel partners should look beyond point technologies or speed benchmarks and bet on Intel's comprehensive platform story.

Intel has also taken a number of steps this year to stay cost-competitive, including slashing the price of i9 X-Series processors by up to 50 percent, extending price cuts of 40 to 50 percent for new Xeon W workstation CPUs, and cutting the price of GPU-less F-Series processors by up to 20 percent.Still, the competition goes on. On Oct. 1 AMD unveiled its new Ryzen Pro 3000 CPUs to take on Intel’s vPro processors in the commercial PC arena. And a week later it launched lower-power Ryzen 9 3900 chips for OEM and system builder partners.

 
Rick Whiting

Rick Whiting has been with CRN since 2006 and is currently a feature/special projects editor. Whiting manages a number of CRN’s signature annual editorial projects including Channel Chiefs, Partner Program Guide, Big Data 100, Emerging Vendors, Tech Innovators and Products of the Year. He also covers the Big Data beat for CRN. He can be reached at rwhiting@thechannelcompany.com.

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