SAN JOSE, Calif. (WCMH) – Intel unveiled multiple new products at its Innovation event, and shared some insight if any of those products could be made at its coming Ohio factory.
The California conference for tech developers, stretching from Tuesday through Wednesday, is Intel’s first since it announced it was building a new semiconductor chip fabrication plant in New Albany. Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger — who just spent time in Ohio for the plant’s groundbreaking three weeks ago — initially took the stage during the conference’s first day with some powerful new products in hand.
“We have a ton of news for you today in hardware, software, chip design. … We’re gonna geek out,” Gelsinger said.
Gelsinger proceeded to unveil products in multiple categories: GPUs, CPUs, displays, and more.
Graphics Processing Units
Intel’s CEO showed off multiple graphics processing units, commonly known as GPUs, during the expo:
- Data Center GPU Flex 170 and 140, which will be implemented in business cloud computing solutions.
- Intel Arc A770 GPU, which will be available for consumers as a desktop computer card.
The A770 is one of multiple consumer Arc GPUs Intel is planning to launch. The specialized computer chip is a necessity for certain intensive computing processes, like video editing and gaming, as Intel has indicated it is well aware of. In recent years, cryptocurrency miners have also sought out GPUs for their moneymaking potential in computer farm setups.
With the majority of the GPU industry dominated by just two other companies, their prices have soared, with some consumers paying scalper-level prices of almost $1,000 for them. The price increase was driven during the pandemic era by manufacturing slowing while GPU demand increased further. It’s just one computer part that falls under the umbrella of a national computer chip shortage.
“For a long time, we’ve been seeing that the average price of GPUs is right in this, two, 300-dollar range,” Gelsinger said on-stage. “But what’s happened the last few years? They’ve just gotten super expensive, and we don’t think they need to.”
A theory touted by President Joe Biden and Gelsinger for the new Ohio semiconductor plant was that it would address the computer chip shortage that has fueled current prices for various parts and products. Similarly, Gelsinger has theorized that Intel’s venture into the GPU industry will similarly fight spiking GPU costs.
Gelsinger said Intel’s A770 GPU — the most powerful in its Arc lineup — will release Oct. 12 at a price of $329.
Central Processing Units
While Intel is a newcomer to modern GPU manufacturing, it’s no stranger to making another computer chip: the central processing unit, or CPU. Intel actually created the first of these parts in 1971, according to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. The computer chip acts as a sort of brain for anything including laptops, desktops, smartphones, DVD players or smart washing machines, and is the main interpreter and executor of electrical signals.
Specifically focusing on processors for normal computers, Intel and competitor AMD have acted as a duopoly in making computer CPUs for decades, according to Malwarebytes. While the GPU is highly in demand, it is also an optional part. On the other hand, computers literally cannot run without a CPU, making them highly sought after as well.
And, Gelsinger made a bold statement about the company’s 13th generation of CPUs he unveiled at the Innovation event.
“This is the fastest, best, desktop processor ever built in history,” Gelsinger said.
Gelsinger was referring to the Intel Core i9, which is one of three CPU variants the company will offer. Intel Core desktop processors have traditionally included i3, i5, i7, and i9 models, each having higher performance, respectively. While the CEO did not give a price point for this component, he did say that, like the new GPUs, they would be available in October.
The Ohio factor
NBC4 reached out to Intel to ask if any of the products unveiled at the Innovation expo would be made in its New Albany plant. Company spokeswoman Linda Qian said Intel has a policy not to disclose which of its fabs make specific products. However, she added it’s more likely the plant — expected to become operational in 2025 — would instead manufacture a future, even more powerful generation of processors.
“The Ohio factories will likely be making future products not announced,” Qian said. “The semiconductor industry typically releases new products every one to two years.”
To invent the designs for those future chips, Intel’s CEO also recognized the need to invest in the next-gen workforce.
His comments during the expo fell in line with Intel’s $50 million pledge to universities that offer classes preparing students for a job with the company.
“We want to build that talent pipeline for the future,” Gelsinger said. “And we’re going to work with these institutions to radically increase the semiconductor talent flow of tomorrow. This is our commitment to the future of the semiconductor industry.”