TL;DR: Intel currently finds itself in a dilemma in the GPU market, and a prominent analyst thinks it may be time for the chipmaker to cut its losses and move on .
Jon Peddie of Jon Peddie Research laid out the situation in a recent editorial, emphasizing Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger’s willingness to drop projects that don’t work. The chipmaker announced plans to sell its NAND business to SK Hynix for $9 billion by the end of 2020 and will no longer operate its aerial drone business. Last month, Intel said it would shut down its Optane memory business.
Since rejoining Intel, Gelsinger has eliminated six business units, saving the company approximately $1.5 billion in costs and
Intel’s GPU ambitions took off after the unexpected hiring of Raja Koduri as the division’s chief architect. Intel has attracted other big names, including former Nvidia engineer Tom Peterson, but so far, there’s been little to show.
as As Peddie highlighted, Intel has reported a loss of $2.1 billion since it began sharing information on its dedicated GPU group in the first quarter of 2021. In fact, the research firm believes Intel has invested more than that, and the actual number may be close to $3.5 billion.
Intel’s dGPU intentions are lofty, but according to Peddie, the results so far in the consumer space “have been embarrassing.”
Our own Steven Walton recently got an Intel Arc A380 — the company’s most entry-level offering — from China. Predictably, this card didn’t surprise anyone, and Steven advises against buying an Intel Arc GPU in its current state.
Frankly, it would be very disappointing if Intel didn’t buy don’t move forward. Intel’s first gen discrete GPUs will never be profitable, the execution will never be flawless or even smooth, and it will always take 3 or 4 generations to start taking hold. We’re assuming Intel knows this and budgets for it, but we’ll see soon if that happens. — Steven Walton
Most people thought Intel’s first GPU had driver optimization issues, some of which may have been implemented. Recently, however, we’ve heard that the Arc series may have fundamental hardware issues that can’t be fixed by tweaking the drivers.
Falling graphics card prices AMD and Nvidia’s improved usability aren’t helping Intel’s efforts either. This trend will likely only continue as long as crypto miners continue to sell their equipment amid local crackdowns and cooling coin values.
As for Peddie, be thinks Intel should “probably” find a partner and sell the team, but believe it has a 50-50 chance at this point.