Chip Wars 2021: What AMD, Intel, Nvidia, and Qualcomm Introduced at CES


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Intel, Advanced Micro Devices, Nvidia, and Qualcomm debuted their newest chips on the 2021 CES tech commerce present this week. As is the case in most years, the brand new chips are sooner and extra power-efficient variations of present know-how, serving to laptop computer makers create smaller and thinner gadgets which have longer battery lives. A few of the new chips, which have been in growth for years, shall be utilized in computer systems that on sale within the subsequent few months, whereas others face an extended lead time.

Right here’s what chip makers introduced at CES:

Superior Micro Gadgets

AMD CEO Lisa Su was a CES keynote speaker for the second yr in a row, befitting the corporate’s main efficiency place in pc processors. Su was joined for elements of her speak by the CEOs of high PC makers HP and Lenovo in addition to high executives from Microsoft and Lucasfilms.

After the PC trade posted its highest gross sales in six years final yr, due to legions of stay-at-home employees and college students, Su predicted continued robust gross sales in 2021. “We anticipate (PC) demand to be even larger in 2021,” she stated.

For brand spanking new merchandise, Su first launched a line of processor chips for laptops that shall be primarily based on the third era of AMD’s Zen design, dubbed Zen3. The brand new Ryzen 5000 sequence run at speeds as much as 4.8 GHz, sooner than final yr’s 4.2 GHz high pace. The chips are as much as 16% sooner than AMD’s prior laptop computer choices, the corporate says. AMD stated 150 new laptops would hit the market in 2021 with the brand new chips together with fashions arriving in February from Asus, HP, and Lenovo.

For desktop computer systems, AMD launched some new high-end variations of chips with the Zen3 design geared toward shoppers, together with the AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO 3995WX, which run at speeds as much as 4.2 GHz. AMD didn’t disclose how a lot the chip would value.

Su additionally confirmed the primary dwell demonstration of the corporate’s upcoming chip for servers and cloud knowledge facilities, code-named Milan. A system powered by the brand new chip outperformed an Intel-equipped system by 68% in creating a posh climate forecast. However AMD hasn’t but stated when the Milan chips will go on sale.


Intel struggled in 2020, because it suffered setbacks in manufacturing chips with the most recent know-how for a second straight yr. However in contrast to 2020, the issues didn’t cease Intel from unveiling new processors at CES 2021.

CEO Bob Swan didn’t lead Intel’s presentation, as he did in 2020. As an alternative, government vp Greg Bryant acted as grasp of ceremonies on Monday.

Among the many highlights, Intel expanded the eleventh era of its “Core” processor chip structure from final yr’s chips for skinny laptops by including new chips for extra highly effective (and bulkier) gaming laptops and desktops.

New Core S-series chips for desktops are 14% sooner than Intel’s prior greatest gaming chips, the corporate stated.

New variations of the corporate’s H-series for highly effective laptops, code named “Tiger Lake,” can pair with cellular graphics chips from Nvidia. The chips are additionally appropriate with the very newest Wi-Fi customary often known as Wi-Fi 6E that makes use of new airwave bands simply made accessible by federal regulators. Intel confirmed a laptop computer with considered one of its new chips barely outperforming AMD’s newest laptop computer gaming chip whereas operating Deep Silver’s Metro Exodus recreation.

In a presentation that included an look by Likelihood the Rapper, Intel additionally unveiled chips geared toward low-cost Chromebooks and different gadgets for colleges. The section has boomed underneath COVID, as youngsters compelled to check from house wanted laptops. Intel stated gross sales of PC to varsities jumped 37% final yr. The corporate stated the most recent model of its low-cost Pentium Silver and Celeron processors supply clearer video for Zoom conferences and embrace the latest upgrades to Wi-Fi often known as Wi-Fi6 for sooner connectivity.

Lastly, Intel confirmed a “sneak peek” of its subsequent era processor, referred to as Alder Lake. Designed extra like processors from Apple and Qualcomm primarily based on know-how from ARM, the Alder Lake chip will mix high-performance processing cores with lower-power cores that save power. It is going to be accessible within the second half of 2021, Intel stated.

The processors are anticipated to be the primary to hit the market that had been overseen by chip design star Jim Keller, who labored on the firm for 2 years before leaving in June.


The main maker of cellular chips for smartphones already revealed its newest processor designs in recent weeks.

However at CES, the corporate nonetheless had a brand new product to announce: an up to date underglass fingerprint sensor that may unlock a telephone when the consumer merely presses a finger on the glass show. The second-generation 3D Sonic Sensor is 50% sooner at unlocking than Qualcomm’s authentic know-how from 2019, the corporate stated. It ought to be accessible in telephones quickly, although Qualcomm didn’t give particular particulars of upcoming gadgets.


Final yr, Nvidia unveiled high and mid-priced desktop graphics cards for avid gamers utilizing its latest Ampere design. At CES 2021, the chipmaker centered on lower-priced playing cards and chips for laptops.

However first, senior vp Jeff Fisher had an apology of kinds for widespread shortages of the brand new playing cards. “Ampere has been our quickest promoting structure ever, promoting nearly twice as a lot as our prior era,” he stated. “We all know these merchandise have been onerous to search out. I wish to thanks on your persistence as we proceed to work onerous to catch up.”

On the desktop, Nvidia’s newest lineup is priced at $400 to $1,500. So the corporate unveiled a brand new desktop card, referred to as the RTX 3060, costing $330. For efficiency in video games depicting shining lights and reflections, a pc operation often known as ray tracing, the brand new playing cards shall be 10 times-faster than the bottom priced playing cards from Nvidia’s prior era. Nvidia’s earlier Ampere-powered playing cards bought out shortly. The RTX 3060 will go on sale in late February, the corporate says.

The corporate can be bringing its Ampere design to laptop computer graphics chips with its new RTX 30 sequence. Nvidia stated the brand new chips are twice as battery environment friendly as its prior era of cellular chips and nonetheless supply improved efficiency. The chips shall be in additional than 70 laptop computer fashions that begin hitting the market on the finish of this month.

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