This week at the IDF in San Francisco, Intel will lay out its comeback plan. The chip giant hopes its next-generation microarchitecture will be about 20 percent faster than similar offerings from AMD that arrive in the same timeframe.
AMD beat Intel to market with key technologies such as 64-bit computing and dual-core processors, and its chips have outperformed Intel's in the increasingly critical performance-per- watt metric. That has let AMD grab market share from much larger Intel, which has had to revise its processor road map and ask its partners to be patient while it gets its technology house in order.
Intel isn't exactly hurting. It posted an impressive $38.8 billion in revenue last year, and its net income jumped 15% to $8.7 billion. But the world's largest supplier of microprocessors no longer seems invincible, and it's no longer the only choice for chips to power business computers. "Intel is trailing both in terms of basic performance and performance per watt," says Nathan Brookwood, an analyst with Insight 64. But he expects Intel's advantages to give it a push. "I think by the end of the year, they can be at near parity with AMD."