Here’s an overview of notable chip launches that these companies are expected to carry out between now and the end of the year.
Notebook Processors -- Intel has promised a mid-2019 reveal for Tiger Lake, the second notebook processor line to rely on its 10-nanometer (10nm) manufacturing process node. Relative to the 10nm, Ice Lake, notebook processor line that launched last year, Tiger Lake will benefit from process improvements, a new CPU core microarchitecture (codenamed Willow Cove) and much better integrated GPU performance, thanks to its use of Intel’s new Xe GPU architecture.
Server CPUs -- Though 2020 volumes aren’t known yet, Intel plans initial production shipments for its Ice Lake Xeon server CPU line -- its first 10nm server CPUs -- before year’s end. In addition to using a more advanced manufacturing process than Intel’s 14nm, Cascade Lake, Xeon CPUs, Ice Lake will rely on a more advanced CPU core microarchitecture and provide memory bandwidth and I/O connectivity improvements.
Gaming GPUs -- AMD is prepping a gaming GPU line based on a next-gen architecture (known as RDNA 2) that’s promised to deliver a 50% improvement in performance per watt relative to the RDNA-architecture GPUs launched in 2019 and 2020. The GPU line is expected to include a high-end product codenamed Big Navi -- recent comments from AMD suggest it could be unveiled in September -- and (like Nvidia’s high-end gaming GPUs) support real-time ray tracing.
RDNA 2-based GPUs will -- along with CPUs based on AMD’s Zen 2 microarchitecture -- also go into the processors set to power Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Sony’s PlayStation 5.
A Server GPU - AMD plans to launch a server GPU later this year that’s based on a new architecture (known as CDNA) optimized for AI/deep learning and high-performance computing (HPC) workloads, and which (like many of Nvidia’s GPUs) feature dedicated circuitry for handling deep learning operations.
Desktop CPUs - In March, AMD confirmed that it plans to launch its first 4th-gen Ryzen PC CPUs before year’s end. These products, which will rely on a next-gen CPU core microarchitecture known as Zen 3, are widely expected to be desktop CPUs, with Zen 3-based notebook CPUs expected to launch in 2021.
In addition, recent reports suggest that AMD might soon roll out an incremental update for its 3rd-gen Ryzen desktop CPU line, to put it on better footing against Intel’s recently-launched Comet Lake desktop CPU line.
Server CPUs -- An AMD Epyc server CPU line to rely on Zen 3 -- it’s codenamed Milan -- is also promised to ship before year’s end. Milan CPUs are promised to be socket-compatible with server platforms designed for AMD’s existing, Zen 2-based, Epyc CPUs (codenamed Rome).
All of the aforementioned products are expected to rely on Taiwan Semiconductor’s (TSM) - Get Report 7nm process node, which is seen as competitive with Intel’s 10nm node. Some of the products might rely on a relatively advanced 7nm TSMC process known as N7+.
Gaming GPUs -- With Nvidia having just launched a 7nm flagship server GPU (the A100) based on its next-gen Ampere architecture, the launch of Nvidia’s first 7nm, Ampere-based, gaming GPUs is probably just a matter of time. Recent reports suggest Nvidia is prepping a pair of high-end, Ampere-based, gaming GPUs -- known as the GeForce RTX 3080 and 3080 Ti -- that will deliver major performance gains relative to the RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti, which are based on Nvidia’s Turing architecture and launched in 2018.
Workstation GPUs -- If history is any guide, Nvidia is also likely to roll out one or more Ampere-based products for its Quadro workstation GPU line before the year is over. Nvidia’s current flagship Quadro GPU, the Turing-based Quadro RTX 8000, was launched in 2018.