Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger: No Plans to Dive into ARM Yet, x86 Capable Enough to Service Customers

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger has revealed that while ARM shows promises it is not yet mature enough to take on the versatility of the x86 architecture, and therefore Intel has no plans to dive into it. However, if ARM does catch up, Intel would prefer being a manufacturing foundry.
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With more and more tech companies beginning to support ARM’s chip architecture, traditional chipmakers like Intel and AMD are faced with a major conundrum — abandon the existing x86 architecture and the ecosystem around it and start making ARM processors, or stick to a robust tech ecosystem that is here to stay for a considerable while.

Well, at the recently concluded Computex, Pat Gelsinger, CEO, Intel made clear where the American chipmaker stands.

Intel’s bet on x86
When asked if Intel would consider making ARM-based processors to maintain its PC market share, Gelsinger emphasized that the x86 market share remains robust. He highlighted the capabilities of Intel’s upcoming Lunar Lake processors, stating, “Lunar Lake has the best CPU, best graphics, best NPU, and it has a very compelling battery life. Why would you change it?”

Gelsinger suggested that for any architecture to displace x86, it would need to offer significant advantages. He confidently mentioned that Lunar Lake and Panther Lake are compelling products, reinforcing Intel’s commitment to x86.

Gelsinger said, “Lunar Lake and Panther Lake are very compelling products, and I haven’t seen anything that would displace that momentum and our market share remains very high.”

“This is not the first Windows on ARM announcement,” Gelsinger remarked. “And the x86 market share has remained very hot. You need to have a reason to change. So, if you believe what I showed on stage today, literally the best CPU, the best graphics, the best NPU, and very compelling battery life—why would you change?”

Not discounting ARM yet
While Gelsinger affirmed Intel’s dedication to x86, he did leave the door open for ARM. “That said, if ARM emerges, I want to be the foundry,” he explained.

He highlighted the beneficial partnership between Intel and ARM, stating, “The partnership that Intel has forged with ARM is dramatically more powerful and beneficial for both companies than I could have even imagined when I took this job. We’re seeing a lot of momentum for ARM as a foundry partner for Intel.”

One compelling reason to consider ARM is battery life. Dell’s shift to the ARM-powered Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite chip reportedly boosts the battery life of its XPS 13 laptop from 18 hours with an Intel Meteor Lake chip to 27 hours with the Snapdragon. This substantial increase underscores the potential advantages of ARM architecture.

Gelsinger acknowledged Intel’s focus on improving battery life with the upcoming Lunar Lake CPU but did not make bold claims about surpassing ARM’s performance.

Intel’s snipes at Qualcomm
Gelsinger did not shy away from criticizing Qualcomm’s performance claims. Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon had described their silicon as the most powerful PC engine ever. Gelsinger countered this by asserting that Intel’s Lunar Lake SoCs outperform Qualcomm’s offerings in all metrics and dismissed rivals’ claims that x86 architecture cannot match others in terms of power consumption as “a myth.”

He emphasized that Lunar Lake already disproves these claims and teased the debut of Arrow Lake processors in late 2024, promising significant advancements in Intel’s Copilot+ PC’s 40-TOPS-or-more specification. He also announced the upcoming Panther Lake processors, built on Intel’s advanced 18A process, which will debut in 2025 and will greatly surpass Lunar Lake in performance.

Intel’s stance on ARM chips reflects a steadfast commitment to the x86 architecture while cautiously exploring opportunities with ARM as a foundry partner. Gelsinger’s statements at Computex underscore Intel’s confidence in its current and future products, even as competition and technological advancements push the boundaries of what’s possible in the semiconductor industry.

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