Business, Hardware

Intel Bullish on 3Q Sales: Sandy Bridge in 4Q 2010


Recently, Intel held an investors meeting to update key financial analysts about the trends the company faces until the end of the year. Needless to say, it looks very positive for the chip giant from Santa Clara.

First off, it looks like the company will record yet another record revenue quarter – the company executives expect QoQ [Quarter-on-Quarter] revenue growth going between 4.0 and 11.5%. Given that the second quarter of 2010 was Intel’s all-time record quarter, this means Intel is steadily growing its way towards 15 billion dollar quarters, with profit probably exceeding AMD’s and nVidia’s joint revenue.

However, the rain on parade comes in the form of rumors from Asia – July notebook sales were well below expectations, and the company hopes that building products for Holidays 2010 shopping season will propel the quarter in towards the 11.6-11.7 billion dollar mark.

In order to achieve these sales, the company will introduce a series of price cuts across the range. We already wrote about the upcoming price cuts for Core 2 and Xeon processors. According to new information at hand, those price cuts will incorporate Atom processors to make room for the new dual-core Atoms, as well as encompass more notebook products, including chipsets.

Secondly, we learned that the company is planning an aggressive ramp up of Sandy Bridge [SNB] products during 4Q 2010, one quarter ahead of schedule. This ramp-up follows its usual sequence: server/workstation [high margin parts], Core Extreme model [high margin part], desktop, mobile. This time around, the gap between the parts will be shortened by a great length.

Sandy Bridge is expected to deliver solid mainstream graphics performance, mostly relying on close ties between the integrated graphics chip [iGFX] and quad-channel, 256-bit memory controller. Naturally, weaker models such as Core i5s and Core i3s won’t feature as complex memory controller as the one in Socket LGA-2011 parts. At the same time, the competition will remain silent all the way until the summer, when first Bulldozer products are expected to see the light of the day. This also means Intel’s 32nm manufacturing leadership is extending from a year to year and a half.

Then again, every time Intel discussed graphics performance and promised the world ["decent mainstream performance"], the competition would be few steps ahead. In terms of today, that "decent mainstream performance" is now taking place in the form of $100-200 parts ranging between Radeon HD 5670, HD 5830 and GeForce GTX 460, as well as the upcoming GTS 455.

We’ll see.