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Intel, Qualcomm And Nvidia Engaged In Fierce Battle Over Chip Supremacy

Gordon Moore, the co-founder of Intel who passed away last year, had a long-standing Moore’s law in place for the tech industry: the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles about every two years.

“We look now to have a billion transistors on a single chip, and even looking to [having] a trillion transistors in a single package by the end of the decade,” Digital Trends reported Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger as saying of Intel’s plans during the company’s keynote at Computex 2024.

Intel’s keynote was largely focused on AI. Recently, Intel confirmed that its Lunar Lake chips – its first to support all the Copilot+ AI features – will break cover in Q3 2024.

Those chips will be introduced in more than 80 new laptops from over 20 hardware partners.

Notably, Intel confirmed that it will ship more than 40 million AI PC chips this year. These will include an onboard neural processing unit for generative AI features.

While Qualcomm seems to have gotten a headstart over Intel when it comes to AI chips – last month, several PC manufacturers announced Copilot+ PCs including the likes of Microsoft, HP, Asus, Lenovo, Samsung and Dell – they all featured Qualcomm chips.

Intel’s CEO did not hold back on his comments regarding Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite and the idea of Windows on Arm. “Since there’s been some talk about this other X Elite chip, and its superiority to the x86 – I just want to put that to bed right now. Ain’t true,” he said bluntly. “Lunar Lake, running in our labs today, outperforms the X Elite on the CPU, on the GPU, and on AI performance, delivering a stunning 120 TOPS of total platform performance. And it’s compatible, so you don’t need any of those compatibility issues, this is x86 at its finest, every enterprise, every customer, every historical driver and capability simply works. This is a no-brainer. Everyone should upgrade.”

Gelsinger added more details as to why he believes the x86 is still superior to Arm. “This is not the first Windows on Arm announcement, right? 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?” he said, as quoted by PC Gamer.

Nvidia’s Chief Executive Officer Jensen Huang also used the Computex event to outline his company’s ambitious plans to put AI at the centre of the company’s technology development strategy.

He said Nvidia announced a Blackwell Ultra chip for 2025 and a next-generation platform in development called Rubin for 2026.

The upcoming Rubin AI platform will use HBM4, the next iteration of the essential high-bandwidth memory. The Rubin family of chips will include new graphics and central processors as well as networking chips.

Nvidia recently announced plans to begin shipping its new Blackwell GPU system, and added that it would update that GPU to Blackwell Ultra by next year.

Huang noted that the company now plans to release a new family of AI chips every year, accelerating its prior release schedule of roughly every two years.

Whether Moore’s law is dead, as Huang has previously claimed, is a matter of debate. What isn’t is that Nvidia, Intel and Qualcomm are locked in a battle which will play out over the next two years and will determine who will come out ahead of the rest by the end of this decade.

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