When you hear so much about Intel having a hard time contending with a revived AMD, it’s sometimes easy to forget the gigantic monolith Intel truly is: it’s worth over 10 times as much as its competitor. And while Zen certainly did catch Intel with its pants down, Team Blue’s alternate revenue streams, from datacenter and desktop have been more than enough to deliver record revenue in Q4 2019. That’s right: not only is Intel having a great fiscal, it was the best quarter ever.
|Intel Business Units||Revenue in Q4 2019||Change relative to Q4 2018|
|Client Computing Group||$10 billion||up 2 percent|
|Data Center Group||$7.2 billion||up 19 percent|
|Internet of Things Group||$920 million||up 13 percent|
|Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group||$1.2 billion||up 10 percent|
|Programmable Solutions Group||$505 million||down 17 percent|
|Data-centric Mobileye||$240 million||up 31 percent|
What can we attribute this growth to? By and large, it centres on client computing (desktop) and the server market. While AMD’s EPYC server parts have been making inroads, the server market is dominated by Intel. Furthermore, OEM systems and pre-builts continue to have a strong Intel bias. AMD’s winning in the DIY market where tech-savvy users make the best of price-performance champions like the Ryzen 5 3600. But when it comes to the average person who just wants to buy a system (and that includes laptops which, by volume are still largely Intel territory), Intel is still the option of choice.
And when we talk about high revenue, it’s important to understand that revenue and profits have a close correlation. Even if sales volume has seen a decline in certain segments, Intel’s profitability per unit is still higher than AMD.
What does this mean for consumers? AMD’s success in the DIY market has been recognized by virtually everyone, Intel included. However, with Team Blue’s very strong fundamentals, simply carrying on business as usual and respinning 14nm parts for consumers is still viable, at least in the short term.