Intel in 2022: This year’s review
How will Intel fare in 2022? In many respects, this has been a rollercoaster year for Team Blue, with some notable highs and some notable lows. Let’s dive in and take a closer look at where Intel has made good progress this year, and where things have derailed to a lesser — or greater — extent.
Birds of prey on the loose
In early 2022, Intel made progress in regaining desktop market share from AMD with strong sales of Alder Lake processors, and followed that up aggressively later in the year with the launch of new 13th Gen CPUs.
Intel unleashed Raptor Lake processors in October 2022, or at least the first set of desktop CPUs led by the flagship Core i9–13900K. And while this is only an Alder Lake update on paper, the new entrants of the 13th generation have added a lot of pep into the mix as well as the 12th generation from Intel. Raptor Lake has blossomed with more efficiency cores, increased cache, and performance has gotten a nice boost over Alder Lake overall.
(Image credit: Future)
The flagship 13900K blew us away in terms of multi-core performance in particular, and it’s a very good heavyweight chip, though it’s power-hungry and clearly isn’t cheap. Furthermore, in the Raptor Lake range, there were CPUs that also shone, and the Core i5–13600K turned out to be an affordable option that delivers great gaming performance with an excellent value proposition.
There’s no doubt that Intel won the mid-range chip battle here against AMD’s Ryzen 7600X, which hit shelves just before the 13600K, and while those CPUs were well matched in terms of performance, Team Red lost out on the upgrade costs of moving to the Zen 4 platform. new. (Which is a new motherboard — with no wallet-friendly options already on the table, at the time of this writing — plus DDR5 RAM is mandatory, while cheaper DDR4 memory can still be used with Raptor Lake.)
In short, Raptor Lake was such a big win for Intel in 2022 that AMD slashed the prices of its (still very new) Zen 4 CPUs (for Black Friday especially, but also after that too). In short, the Core i9–13900K also stole the crown for the fastest ever overclock for a desktop CPU — a staggering 8.8GHz. This underscored the potential this silicon holds for the hardcore overclocking enthusiast.
(Image credit: Acer, Intel)
The release of the Alchemist GPU isn’t magic from Intel
In 2022, Intel finally released its Arc Alchemist discrete graphics cards to take on AMD and Nvidia. This was a big moment for Intel to begin to establish itself as a third player in the graphics card market, introducing some much needed competition, although unfortunately the start that GPUs (for laptops and desktops) got off can be described in two words: Shaky and wobbly. Both words mean the same thing, of course, but the early days of the Arc were so ubiquitous that they double down on the rambunctious nature of the launch.
We’ve seen delays, GPUs launching in Asia only, promises from Intel that things weren’t far off, and then more delays… you get the picture. In short, disappointment prevailed on many fronts, from the delayed launch dates — or even the lack thereof — to the performance of the Arc graphics cards that came out in 2022 onwards (the budget A3 series and the higher-end A7). Unwanted drivers and performance issues have proven to be thorny issues for many games.
At one point, there were rumors that Intel was in such a bad way with its Arc GPUs that the company was considering abandoning the entire project, something Team Blue vehemently denied, and has since proven its worth in continuing with Arc.
In fact, at the end of the year, Intel took serious steps forward with its Arc GPU drivers, resulting in significant performance boosts for some games. That’s an optimistic note that should end in 2022 at the very least, and if Intel can continue to fix the driver issue, and price competitively, the Arc story of new GPUs could have a happy ending after all. Which is definitely not what we envisioned going into the middle of the year, that’s for sure.
It’s clear that Nvidia remains open to attack at the budget end of the market, which still appears to be a much lower priority for Team Green, and a definite space where Intel could benefit from its dominant GPU strength as a result.
XeSS — which is the equivalent of Intel Nvidia DLSS, or AMD FSR — has also quietly established itself as a force in the frame rate boosting world, with an impressive initial offering in its early days.
What we have to remember here is that in their first incarnations both DLSS and FSR had their fair share of hurdles, and Intel’s start with XeSS is relatively impressive in this initial implementation. This bodes well for the future, along with the progress made with the Arc graphics driver we just mentioned.
(Image credit: Future)
Process accelerator floors
Intel ended 2022 with some big talk about how to accelerate chip development and production, including making chips for third parties, like MediaTek, and backtracking to more advanced processes — which means faster, more efficient chips — without any delays. And the lag on that front is something Intel has struggled with hard in the past, as you may recall (it got stuck on a 14nm update for its CPUs for what seemed like forever).
That’s all in the past, though, according to Intel’s Ann Kelleher, vice president and general manager of technology development, who said in December that Intel is not only on the right track, but ahead of the game in some areas. Team Blue is already mass-producing 7nm chips — that’s the next process from the current 10nm silicon — and the company is ready to start with 4nm, the next step.
This is code for “Watch out AMD — we’re coming to steal more processors from Ryzen.”
(Image credit: Intel)
Profits decline and job cuts
While progress may be getting back on track honing in and launching new operations, and plans to regain leadership in chip production underway, this hasn’t come without tough decisions for Intel in 2022, as its earnings levels have fallen significantly (great recession in PCs) Sales don’t help Team Blue of course).
You may recall that Intel shut down the Optane memory business in July, and then in September we had CEO Pat Gelsinger warn that Intel’s performance will continue to slide in the future, in critical areas like server CPUs (where the decline is expected to continue into 2025). , In fact).
All of this culminated in an October announcement of cost-cutting plans that include a “meaningful number” of layoffs, with Intel looking to save about $3 billion over the next year (and much more in the future to the tune of $10 billion in annual cost reductions). by 2025).
Intel has had success stories in 2022, particularly with its consumer processors — and Raptor Lake is more than consolidating the progress made in the back of Alder Lake — but that has happened against the backdrop of difficulties in the server market, and the Arc GPU is disappointingly rocky. The launch, along with dwindling profits and job cuts.
It’s hard to call this a good year for Intel, but the company seems to be realigning itself to be in a position to do better things ahead. Certainly in terms of boosting chip production capabilities and staying on track while advancing to new processes without delay — Meteor Lake CPUs remain on target for a 2023 launch.
And let’s not forget that the Arc graphics cards weren’t all a washed up in 2022. It was a bad start for the GPUs, let’s talk about it, but the Intel drivers made good progress with performance gains as the year drew to a close (and XeSS has established itself nicely). In fact, Intel had a separate and meaningful graphics-processing unit (GPU) market share of 4% by the end of the year, with potential for more in the budget space in 2023.
There’s a sense that the negative aspects of the past year will turn into more positive ones, perhaps — apart from the very unfortunate job loss, of course.