Intel CEO says it is ‘closing the gap’ on rivals ‘even more rapidly’ than expected


Intel has had a tough time with chipmaking as of late, but its CEO, Pat Gelsinger, says he believes the company is catching up to its chipmaking competitors at a faster rate than he expected.

He said this during the company's latest financial call, which is where you'd usually expect to hear a CEO bigging up their own company. Nonetheless, there's something in the fact Intel now sees itself as going from behind the curve to on it so quickly.

“…all of those nodes, Intel 7, Intel 4, Intel 3, Intel 28, Intel 18A, are on or ahead of schedule,” Gelsinger says during the Q&A section of the earnings call (via Seeking Alpha). “Relatively speaking, we're closing the gap on the industry, probably even more rapidly than I would've expected just a quarter ago.”

Gelsinger is probably referring to TSMC here, as its main competitor in the chipmaking business, but Samsung, too, is a large chipmaking foundry. 

TSMC makes most of AMD's silicon on its 7nm process, and recently Apple announced new chips, including the impressive M1 Max, using TSMC's 5nm process. Intel, on the other hand, is gearing up for the first desktop chips on its Intel 7 process node, which was previously referred to as 10nm Enhanced SuperFin.

If you're wondering what all this means for your gaming PC, Intel also says that its significant cash investments in its own business—set to reach up to $28 billion next year—will lead to “superior products with superior pricing and margins.”

Intel Ponte Vecchio Modular Design

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger holding Ponte Vecchio, Intel’s supercomputer GPU chip. (Image credit: Intel)
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“And as a result of that, these investments will be producing superior products with superior pricing and margins more rapidly, than we would have forecast even a quarter ago.”

Context is key here, though. That is superior in the financial sense, as in superior pricing and margins for shareholders, who Intel is talking to on the call. But you can't start charging more until you have a great product, as was the case with AMD's Ryzen Zen 3 processors, which have put the pressure on Intel to deliver this past year but also come with higher costs.

“Obviously, we have a couple of years to work through,” Gelsinger concludes. “But this is going to be a great outcome. And we think all of our aggressive leanings right now are going to be handsomely rewarded in the marketplace to our customers and to our shareholders over time.”

No doubt Intel does appear to be pouring fuel on the R&D fire to come back at its historical competitors (AMD) and its newer ones (Nvidia and Arm). The first of which appears to be Intel Alder Lake, the new hybrid desktop chips said to arrive very soon indeed.

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