Intel is again trying to spin mediocrity with a new Atom C3000, Xeon D-1500, and XMM7560 LTE modem. There are a few other bits announced too, one of which may actually work right, more on that in a bit.
Once again SemiAccurate was not embargoed on this material, a bonus for our readers. Everyone else has to wait until the 21st at 6am PST. Unfortunately Intel is harming their image once again by not actually giving out specs on their new tech, they want the press to write-up that it is great without actually knowing what it is. This messaging strategy should tell you everything you need to know about the strength of the product line.
Lets start out with the new CPUs, the Atom C3000 family and the Xeon D-1500 family. As SemiAccurate exclusively told you months ago, the Atom line is not dead. Dying in mass quantities in the field while being covered up by Intel, sure, but the line is still ongoing. Why they are still continuing with it is beyond us, ARM devices in the same performance and power bands are much more efficient, cost less, and don’t come with other handcuffs. This line is DOA but still being made.
The Xeon D-1500 line has a bit more to it but it is eating the lunch of the mainstream Xeon lines. These chips fit a workload that needs more I/O than compute, essentially replacing two of the larger Xeons with one socket of the D line. Intel my be making decent margins on this product but when you are replacing two of their highest margin products with one having OK margins, it isn’t a win. Facebook was one big Xeon-D customer and we expect them to buy more this time. And less big Xeons.
Things get humorous when you look at the modems specifically the XMM7560 Intel just announced. Intel is claiming it is the first one “manufactured in Intel technology”, IE it is on Intel’s 14nm process. Please note Qualcomm is on 10nm at Samsung and is actually shipping products in quantity. Intel did not put a release date on their slides.
Why do we call this humorous? Because one of the four main headings for their brief is “Comprehensive Feature Set”. Under that are two bullets the important one is, “Complete Feature”. Why is this important? It goes to show what SemiAccurate has been saying for years now, Intel has not made a fully functional modem to date. While Intel may claim this one is “Complete Feature”, they have made the same claims for the last 4-5 generations and have not met that low bar once. Don’t hold your breath here.
The rest is pretty simple and par for the course, GbLTE, 5x CA, and support for 35 bands. That last one is up from the 30+ they announced last year at MWC but it is still far below what Qualcomm offers. Intel is finally able to offer 4×4 MIMO and 256-QAM downlink with 64-QAM uplinks but again it will be interesting to see if it actually works. The last point is “Provision of the latest interference management concepts”, whatever that means. Given Intel’s performance in the latest iPhone, it can’t hurt.
Last up are two networking adapters, the Intel QuickAssist Adapter and Intel Ethernet Network Adapter XXV710. These are yawners, the QuickAssist adapter is based on a good idea with a broken implementation. Hint: look at the spec sheet on ROCE and then try it out. Intel says they are not going to fix this ‘minor’ issue which could explain the recent sales spike at Mellanox and some seriously cheesed off customers. The Ethernet adapter is just that, Ethernet. Neither is going to set the world on fire but at least half the offerings actually work right this time.
So that is what Intel is announcing tomorrow, two server families, one modem, and two adapter cards. The Atom is ignorable now that Intel is slashing MDF funding it will have to sell on merit. We actually feel sorry for the good Intel salespersonnel on this one. The Xeon D-1500 is a decent part aimed at specific workloads but it destroys Intel margins on the lucrative stuff. The modems are promised to work right this time, like the last several, and be “Complete Feature”, again like the last several. If you want a cheap modem, there are better options out there. The adapters are 50% functional, 50% boring, yay? Look for tame sites to rave about them for ad money as usual.S|A