Editor’s Opinion: A Culture of Information

As an aside to today's announcement, I had a few thoughts on how Intel releases product information. Seeing as this ventures closer to opinion/editorial than news & analysis, I felt it best not to mix it up with the key facts of the Whiskey/Amber Lake announcements. Nonetheless, I wanted to share my thoughts to give everyone a bit more insight into how information sharing has been changing over the past few years.

For readers that regularly follow us, you will note that with each and every generation, Intel has been less than forthcoming with details about new launches. In some aspects, such as the enterprise team, that trend is slowly reversing, but for this launch, almost all the technical info came in two slides, and for most of the specifications we had to request follow-up questions. The data we used to get in a slide deck in previous years has now been relegated to ‘ask if you care about it’, which is a worrying policy from my point of view.
For example, if you are wondering where information on the integrated graphics is, well, we’re waiting on it because it wasn’t provided in the group briefing. Info such as the name of the integrated graphics (UHD xxx), number of execution units, base frequencies, turbo frequencies – all of which used to be standard fare in previous generations. As did the per-core turbo frequencies. We also ask for new information these days as our understanding of products increases, such as PL2 data.
Perhaps the best example of how Intel has changed is that Intel didn't even disclose information on the underlying microarchitecture or manufacturing node until it was asked. Information that used to be at the forefront of a presentation has been replaced with marketing, and said information is now left at the end.
This isn’t a direct attack on Intel - we are constantly engaging with the people we speak to at the company on the way that they disclose materials like this, encouraging them to be more forthcoming on day one, as the company used to be. The differences between notebook, desktop, and enterprise disclosure are down to the different product teams deciding individually what to disclose, rather than a common disclosure set running through the whole company.
Intel’s reaction to this, from the people we speak to, has always been one of co-operation. They have been honest when they are told they can’t disclose information, even if we ask every time because the information is arguably trivial to obtain elsewhere (we would rather Intel was the source, given that it is Intel’s product). The way Intel is going about the marketing message for these new platforms is similar to that of how Intel marks new generations of products: people aren’t interested in names, or specific features. This is why we now have multiple manufacturing nodes and microarchitectures all under the ‘8th Generation’ branding. Products are sold on capabilities and user experiences, not in the fine minutiae of technical specifications – and this I do not doubt.
However Intel has historically been a company that has delved deep into details consistently over the years, and that seems to be fading – for a company that takes pride in its engineering, it would be great to offer engineering details to the customers and analysts that track its progress.

Intel Launches Whiskey and Amber


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  • iwod - Tuesday, August 28, 2018 - link

    Utter BS coming from Intel. User count on experience? What experience did they provide or improve? Without OS and other hardware partner working with them? Intel is trying their MMX and Pentium inside again, where people will buy a newer generation of product even if it was the same as last gen but a rebadge.

    If they had included the Thunderbolt controller it would have been easier to swallow because that thing cost $15. Now it is more of the same. Lies after Lies after Lies. I am not sure how intel can be trusted anymore.

    Oh if user don't care about node or uArch or technical details, please don't invite any tech journalist to your event. They might as well not write for you.
  • hecksagon - Tuesday, August 28, 2018 - link

    Re-badge? Last generation 15w parts were dual core. Id say a >50% bump in multithreaded performance is quite a bit more than a re-badge. Reply
  • Santoval - Tuesday, August 28, 2018 - link

    The value of the 2 additional cores will strongly depend on the cooling capacity of the device, and thus the duration of the boost frequency, or else they will crash to their base frequency and have zero performance edge over the fastest Kaby Lake-U (15W) CPUs such as i7-7600U and i7-7660U. Reply
  • repoman27 - Tuesday, August 28, 2018 - link

    The only difference here is clock speeds and the move to 300-series Cannon Point chipsets. Kaby Lake R was already a thing, and Amber Lake is still dual-core. I have to believe WHL and AML are at least fabbed on 14++ though. Reply
  • iwod - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 - link

    I stand corrected, I thought the coffeelake generation in 25W parts had meant the 15W already has quad core as well. So for the 15W parts it is much better, the 5Ws parts they are more of the same. Reply
  • sing_electric - Tuesday, August 28, 2018 - link

    I know it seems like another minor upgrade (and hell, there's cases where if you're running anything Haswell or newer with a decent amount of RAM, you might not see a performance reason to upgrade), but on a scale from 1-10, I think we have to give these new chips a 14+++++++++. Reply
  • Ditiris - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 - link

    Made me smile =) Reply
  • bernstein - Tuesday, August 28, 2018 - link

    cite: "Products are sold on capabilities and user experiences, not in the fine minutiae of technical specifications."
    true, but then CPUs aren't sold to the average consumer, most don't give a rats ass about what's in their electronic devices. they care about speed, device brand & battery life.

    those that actually buy (and read articles like this) components like CPUs are very different from average joe, cut though marketing like a sheet of paper and almost exclusively care about technical details. and if those details are withheld they'll either find out or trust only benchmark results...

    this leaves the question: who's intel marketing target at? dumb "experts"?
  • IntelUser2000 - Tuesday, August 28, 2018 - link

    Not all do, but a significant amount care for it. You are generalizing it for everyone.

    I've seen people crap on a product that was otherwise good because the CPU used was last generation.

    Intel had a presentation years ago and one of the slides said enthusiast users(like people who knows about what the specs really mean) have a market effect equal to multiple consumers. I certainly recommend computers to family and friends. So in my case, 1 enthusiast is affecting 10-15 average joes.
  • wr3zzz - Tuesday, August 28, 2018 - link

    I think those days are gone. Instead of seeking the advice of a person who is "into it" from real life social circles younger generations have multiple virtual social circles they can tap for opinions without the embarrassment of reaching out and interacting to a real life person. Large circle "Influencers" have increasingly displaced the small circle enthusiasts. Companies gladly play to the new changes by releasing fewer information to the general public so they themselves can influence the influencers by controlling access. Reply

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