HomeStock MarketIntel's AI Ambitions: A Strategic Shift Toward Private Data Storage Solutions

Intel’s AI Ambitions: A Strategic Shift Toward Private Data Storage Solutions

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Intel Corporation (INTC), a titan in the world of semiconductors, is navigating a period of transformative change that is revolutionizing its corporate culture and product development. Traditionally, Intel’s core offerings have been microprocessors that serve as the brains of desktop PCs, laptops and tablets, and servers. These processors are silicon wafers embedded with millions or billions of transistors, each acting as binary switches that form the fundamental ‘ones and zeros’ of computer operations.

Today, the thirst for enhanced processing power is insatiable. The proliferation of Artificial Intelligence (AI), which has become integral to essential business operations across almost every sector, exponentially increases the need for robust computing capabilities. AI, particularly neural networks, necessitates enormous computing power and thrives on the collaborative efforts of multiple computing systems. The scope of these AI applications extends far beyond the PCs and servers that initially cemented INTC’s status as an industry leader.

The rapid advancement of AI has prompted Intel to rethink and innovate its chip designs and functionalities. As a result, the company is developing new software and designing interoperable chips while exploring external partnerships to accelerate its adaptation to the evolving computing environment.

Strategic Pivot Toward AI Ecosystem

At Computex 2024, INTC unveiled a series of groundbreaking AI-related announcements, showcasing the latest technologies that merge cutting-edge performance with power efficiency (especially in data centers and for AI on personal computers). The company aims to make AI cheaper and more accessible for everyone.

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger emphasized how AI is changing the game, stating, “The magic of silicon is once again enabling exponential advancements in computing that will push the boundaries of human potential and power the global economy for years to come.”

In just six months, Intel achieved a lot, transitioning from launching 5th Gen Intel® Xeon® processors to introducing the pioneering Xeon 6 series. The company also previewed Gaudi AI accelerators, offering enterprise clients a cost-effective GenAI training and inference system. Furthermore, Intel has spearheaded the AI PC revolution by integrating Intel® Core™ Ultra processors in over 8 million devices while teasing the upcoming client architecture slated for release later this year.

These strides underscore Intel’s commitment to accelerating execution and driving innovation at an unprecedented pace to democratize AI and catalyze industries.

Strategic Pricing and Availability of Its Gaudi AI Accelerators

Intel is gearing up to launch the third generation of its Gaudi AI accelerators later this year, aiming to address a backlog of around $2 billion related to AI chips. However, the company anticipates generating only about $500 million in Gaudi 3 sales in 2024, possibly due to supply constraints.

To broaden the availability of Gaudi 3 systems, Intel is expanding its network of system providers. The company is now collaborating with Asus, Foxconn, Gigabyte, Inventec, Quanta, and Wistron alongside existing partners like Dell Technologies Inc. (DELL), Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co (HPE), Lenovo Group (LNVGY), and Super Micro Computer, Inc. (SMCI), to ensure Gaudi 3 systems are available far and wide once they hit the market.

But what caught attention at Intel’s announcement was the company’s attractive pricing strategy. Kits featuring eight Gaudi 2 AI chips and a universal baseboard will cost $65,000, while the version with eight Gaudi 3 AI chips will be priced at $125,000. These prices are estimated to be one-third and two-thirds of the cost of comparable competitive platforms, respectively.

While undercutting Nvidia Corporation (NVDA) on price, INTC expects its chips to deliver impressive performance. According to their estimates, a cluster of 8,192 Gaudi 3 chips can train AI models up to 40% faster than NVDA’s H100 chips. Additionally, Gaudi 3 offers up to double the AI inferencing performance of the H100 when running popular large language models (LLMs).

Intel Continues to Ride with 500+ Optimized Models on Core Ultra Processors

In May, INTC announced that over 500 AI models now run optimized on new Intel® Core™ Ultra processors. These processors, known for their advanced AI capabilities, immersive graphics, and optimal battery life, mark a significant milestone in Intel’s AI PC transformation efforts.

This achievement stems from Intel’s investments in client AI, framework optimizations, and tools like the OpenVINO™ toolkit. The 500+ AI models cover various applications, including large language models, super-resolution, object detection, and computer vision, and are available across popular industry platforms.

The Intel Core Ultra processor is the fastest-growing AI PC processor and the most robust platform for AI PC development. It supports a wide range of AI models, frameworks, and runtimes, making it ideal for AI-enhanced software features like object removal and image super-resolution. This milestone underscores Intel’s commitment to advancing AI PC technology, offering users a broad range of AI-driven functionalities for enhanced computing experiences.

Robust Financial Performance and Outlook

Buoyed by solid innovation across its client, edge, and data center portfolios, the company delivered a solid financial performance, driving double-digit revenue growth in its products. Total Intel Products chalked up $11.90 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2024 (ended March 30), resulting in a 17% year-over-year increase over the prior year’s period. Revenue from the Client Computing Group (CCG) rose 31% year-over-year.

INTC’s net revenue increased 8.6% year-over-year to $12.72 billion, primarily driven by growth in its personal computing, data center, and AI business. Intel’s Data Center and AI (DCAI) division, which offers server chips, saw sales uptick 5% to $3.04 billion.

Also, the company reported a non-GAAP operating income of $723 million, compared to an operating loss of $294 million in the prior year’s quarter. Further, its non-GAAP net income and non-GAAP earnings per share came in at $759 million and $0.18 versus a net loss and loss per share of $169 million and $0.04, respectively, in the same quarter last year.

For the second quarter, Intel expects its revenue to come between $12.5 billion and $13.5 billion, while its non-GAAP earnings per share is expected to be $0.10.

Bottom Line

Despite vital innovations and solid financial performance, INTC’s shares have lost nearly 40% year-to-date and more than 3% over the past 12 months. However, with over 5 million AI PCs shipped since the December 2023 launch of Intel Core Ultra processors, supported by over 100 software vendors, the company expects to exceed its forecast of 40 million AI PCs by the end of 2024.

With the growing demand for AI chips, INTC could see a significant increase in Gaudi chip sales next year as customers look for cost-effective alternatives to NVDA’s market-leading products. Moreover, if Intel’s reasonable pricing resonates with prospective customers, the company could capture significant market share from its competitors.

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