The Acceleration of Digitisation - Santhosh Viswanathan, Intel

We speak to Santhosh Viswanathan, Vice President – Sales, Marketing and Communications Group, and Managing Director, Asia Pacific Japan Territory, Intel Corporation, on Intel's new 12th Gen processors, how the PC industry will develop and more.

Santhosh Viswanathan, Vice President – Sales, Marketing and Communications Group, and Managing Director, Asia Pacific Japan Territory, Intel Corporation

Q: Intel recently announced its latest 12th Gen Intel Core desktop processor; why hybrid architecture, and why now?


The launch of our 12th Gen Intel Core desktop processors exemplifies our commitment to deliver a steady cadence of leadership products, leveraging our innovations in process and packaging technologies. The new performance hybrid architecture that you see in our 12th Gen Core desktop processors is the result of the most significant shift in x86 architecture in over a decade, and one that we are re-envisioning to provide the performance that matches the way real people use their PCs today.​


The 12th Gen Intel Core processors integrate two all-new core microarchitectures into a single product:​ First, the Performance-core or P-Core, which is also the highest performing CPU core Intel has ever built, for maximum burst and single-threaded performance. ​Second, you have the Efficient-core or E-core, designed for scalable performance-per-watt, for sustained, multi-threaded and multi-tasking performance.​


Adding to that is Intel Thread Director technology designed into those 12 th Gen Intel Core processors, which work with the latest Windows 11 operating system to make more intelligent and informed decisions about where to place running threads and get the most out of the CPU.


We could have gone with more cores, and more threads, but instead, we found it much more effective to combine these different core types, which resulted in being able to deliver higher multi-threaded performance with the same power. Of course, the performance improvements that the P-Cores and E-Cores have are already impressive individually, but by putting two of them together and optimizing how gamers, content creators and our customers take advantage of this computing power, that’s the truly ground-breaking part.


Simply put, the hybrid approach is one that is far more efficient, with a huge performance and efficiency gain, generation over generation.


Q: During the launch, Pat Gelsinger mentioned that Moore’s Law is alive and well. Can you elaborate further?


As you can imagine, we’re confident in making that statement, given that Intel as a company is innovating at the fastest pace that anyone has ever accomplished. Earlier in July at Intel Accelerated, we announced five nodes in four years, and we are on-or ahead of-schedule for all of them. Throw in our advanced 3D packaging capabilities, advancements in transistor architectures, as well as power delivery improvement, and we are, as Pat said, going to be well above Moore’s Law by the end of the decade.


Q: The IDM2.0 initiative was announced earlier this year, along with substantial promises of investments into semiconductor manufacturing capability. How has Intel delivered so far on these plans? Are you still on track to deliver on the Intel 4 (formerly 7nm) process technology by 2023?


We started the year with our IDM 2.0 strategy, which was geared towards our shared vision of what the future should be. More importantly, IDM 2.0 wasn’t just about trying to build capacity to meet the overwhelming demand that the semiconductor industry was seeing, but instead it is about how to manufacture, design and deliver leadership products, as well as to create long-term value for stakeholders by investing in expanding our manufacturing capabilities across the globe, as well as making plans to become a major provider of foundry capacity in the U.S. and Europe to serve customers around the world.


We are making great progress in delivering on our IDM 2.0 commitments. We broke ground on new fabs this year to help address the issue of capacity. We also doubled down on innovation; earlier this year we’ve shared our roadmap to regain process performance leadership alongside some of our most dramatic architectural innovations. Intel 4 is one of the four nodes we announced, and we are on track in meeting our product commitments.


What is equally important is that we continue to deliver the product leadership that our customers expect from Intel; our newest 12th Gen Intel Core processors are an example of how we are offering our customers significant performance improvements in gaming, content creation, or AI acceleration.


Q: How do you see the semiconductor industry in 2022, in the light of companies like Apple and Google making inroads towards designing chips of their own? Will Intel be taking on these companies as customers, and to build their chips?


The digitisation of everything has been accelerated by the four superpowers of AI, pervasive connectivity, cloud to edge infrastructure, and ubiquitous compute. Put together, these four trends are now driving a sustained need for even more semiconductors, and more computing power.


Undeniably, this is a lucrative and growing market, and one that is expected to double to US$1T by 2030. Our technology nodes will be open to everyone, to our current design teams and to external foundry customers. Intel Foundry customers will get equivalent access to leading-edge Intel process technologies as do the internal groups.


Our foundry business is also coming along quite nicely. In our most recent earnings, we’ve mentioned that we have over 100 customers in the pipeline, including several large customers who are working with us on our leading-edge Intel 18A process that’s due in 2025, as well as multiple customers planning test chips on Intel 16 that will be in our factories early next year.


When it comes to the competition, however, Pat said it best: We must make sure that our products are better, that our ecosystem is more open and vibrant, and create a more compelling reason for developers and users to use Intel products.


At the end of the day, our priority is to deliver product leadership for our customers, and to do that, we must be laser-focused on driving product leadership and meeting customer commitments.


Q: Mobile computing performance capability has improved by leaps and bounds over recent years; how do you see the personal computing market evolving in this view?


The past two years have been astounding for the PC market and we believe the total addressable market (TAM) for 2021 will grow double digits.


At the same time, we are hard at work in leading the rejuvenation of the PC by delivering a better user experience and purpose-built innovation at the software, silicon, and platform level, which are also driven by initiatives such as our Intel Evo platform in the mobile computing segment.


Our Intel Evo platform gives buyers the very best mobile experience, and we’re deepening our ecosystem engagement with our OEM partners globally to advance the PC experience in new and innovative ways.


Again, this is part of our strategy to deliver great products for the end-user, such as our 12th Gen Intel Core mobile processors which we will have more details to share soon so please stay tuned!


As we head into 2022, we expect the supply situation to gradually improve and the PC market to continue to grow as tailwinds from the launch of Win 11, hybrid work models, a larger installed base, and compelling new platforms will drive PC density, shorter replacement cycles and penetration of new markets.