Chip Competition Intensifies As AMD, Intel Face Off With New Competing Workstation PC Platforms

Intel and AMD both launched new chips this week targeting workstation business PCs, creating another head-to-head matchup in another competitive market segment. 

The two chip companies have faced off with new competing products over the past year, including server chips and enthusiast platforms. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, during the company's second quarter earnings call in July, said that competition only makes the company "better in the end."

"We continue to see intense competition across our businesses. That's the reality of the attractive markets in which we participate. The competition makes us stronger, and we're ready for it," he said. "AMD has raised up a bit with their more recent products, but you see us responding. This is a traditional performance battle that we're very accustomed to, and we're comfortable in reacting and competing very aggressively in."

[Related: Partners: Intel's New Core X Platform Means 'The Race Is On' With AMD For Gamers, Enthusiasts]

Intel on Tuesday released its Xeon W processors, targeting mainstream workstations. Meanwhile, on Friday, AMD lifted the curtain on its Ryzen Pro desktop processors, "designed for business."

Intel said its processors delivers optimized performance for workstations through combining mainstream performance, enhanced memory capabilities, and security features. The Xeon W processor features up to 18 cores and 36 threads, with Intel Turbo Boost Technology frequency of up to 4.5 GHz.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company said that this new processor will boost workstations by almost 2 times in performance compared to a four year old system.

"These new Intel Xeon processors for workstations deliver the features and capabilities elite professionals need to bring their digital creations to life," said Lisa Spelman, vice president and general manager of Intel Xeon products and Data Center marketing at Intel. "Whether it’s professional-grade virtual or augmented reality, content creation in full 8K resolution, advanced computer aided design and simulation, or innovations we’ve yet to discover, these robust processors empower creative and technical professionals with tools to match their imaginations."

Meanwhile, AMD's Ryzen Pro desktop processors, based on the company's Zen core, are designed for the enterprise and public sector. These chips have up to 8 cores and AMD's GuardMI security technology.

“Today’s business PC users require more processing power than ever before to run increasingly demanding applications, to ensure they can multitask without disruption, and to help protect against security threats,” said Jim Anderson, senior vice president and general manager, Computing and Graphics Group at AMD in a statement.

AMD said that enterprise customers can purchase Ryzen Pro-based systems "in the coming months" from vendors like Dell, HP and Lenovo.

“Ryzen PRO is designed to address these needs, and we’re proud to collaborate with such a strong set of industry leaders on a robust assortment of AMD-based desktop PCs that showcase the strength and flexibility of the Ryzen PRO platform," Anderson said.

Both Intel and AMD did not disclose pricing for their new chips, as well as specific release dates.

Partners see increased competition as ultimately benefitting the channel because it drives improvements in technology, as well as incentivizes chip vendors to bring products to market more rapidly.

Kent Tibbils, vice president of marketing at ASI, a Fremont, Calif.-based Intel system builder, said that "ultimately these changes or advances in technology create opportunity for the channel to leverage their overall value capabilities and differentiate themselves from the larger branded manufacturers."

"At the end of the day, this is a good thing for the channel," said Tibbils.

Read more articles on: