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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  • silverblue - Thursday, August 30, 2018 - link

    Tom's Hardware seems to think they are. They have a table at the following link so you can see for yourself:

    https://www.tomshardware.com/news/whiskey-lake-mit...
    Reply
  • zodiacfml - Tuesday, August 28, 2018 - link

    Not surprising. Why give numbers if they stayed more or less the same for many years.
    I don't like Apple but their business has provided TSMC to take the foundry business on top of the game. It looks like the new Apple chip this year is going have interesting numbers again
    Reply
  • wr3zzz - Tuesday, August 28, 2018 - link

    Re: a culture of information. Perhaps Intel is just catering to the new generation of "journalism"? For reasons unfathomed to me younger generations prefer watching a ten minute Youtuber yaking clip to get the same piece of information that would take less than a minute to read from print media. Facts and data sheets aren't as important, not to mention don't fill enough air time for "influencers" as reactions to opinions and hyperbole. Reply
  • repoman27 - Tuesday, August 28, 2018 - link

    "These new processors will fall under Intel’s 8th Generation branding, which already contains its Kaby Lake Refresh 15W processors, both with and without extra embedded DRAM for its graphics."

    Kaby Lake Refresh only added 4 quad-core 15 W parts with GT2 graphics. The last 15 W GT3e SKUs were part of the original Kaby Lake family and only dual-core. So Apple's choices for the new MacBook (Retina, 13-inch, 2018) are either WHL-U 4+2 or KBL-U 2+3e (same as the current 13-inch MacBook Pro sans TouchBar). I'd put my money on the latter.

    "Both Amber Lake and Whiskey Lake are Kaby Lake underneath, there are no microarchitecture or manufacturing changes here."

    This cannot be true. Kaby Lake was 14+. Whiskey and Amber have to at least be 14++ like Coffee Lake, no? Of course that also raises the question of why they received code names that aren't the same and aren't Coffee Lake either? I understand that Intel is in obfuscation mode at this point, but their code names usually follow an established pattern regardless of what the marketing team decides to do later on. Moving to 300 series / Cannon Point chipsets is simply a packaging update, so why did we get not one but two new processor family codenames?
    Reply
  • gamer1000k - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 - link

    Those Amber Lake parts look like they would be a nice fit for the next iteration of the Surface Go, although those MSRP prices are insane just like they were with the older m3 parts.

    Hopefully they'll drop the prices for those CPUs so we can see more small devices using them.
    Reply
  • HStewart - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 - link

    Most likely but not noted here the Amber Lake will have Chipset enhancement requiring less chips - however the CPU is still more expensive that Surface Go current chip - but much faster than that chip. Reply
  • yeeeeman - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 - link

    I think Intel is being bashed because of the things it has learned its customers all these years, like tick tock, constant process improvements, constant uArch improvements. Now, that they can't do these things they changed the tactics and try to up the core count, improve efficiency of the node (current 14nm performance/efficiency is MUCH better than Broadwell 14nm). You could say that it reaches the results of what first try of 10nm could obtain.
    So, lets get used to that cause we are approaching the limit of silicon tech in the next years and thing will have to improve in other ways than we are used.
    Reply
  • HStewart - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 - link

    Yes in deed one thing Intel is showing with these updates is nm size is not all that is important, One most think where these chips are being aim - in the mobile industry and reducing chips on the motherboard is far more important then reducing die size. Intel is clearing showing you don't need 10nm to reduce the size of chips on laptop and increase battery life. Also who knows there maybe some process improvements also. Reply
  • HStewart - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 - link

    One thing that I found interesting is something called MPX - the higher watt CPU's including the 8705g in my Dell XPS 2in1 have MAX - but this one does not

    https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/products/c...

    Note - the following was about MPX

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_MPX

    Sounds like combination of compile and cpu changes to prevent buffer over runs
    Reply
  • darkich - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 - link

    Gosh those names are just so idiotic and repulsive, fitting for the company itself.
    I hope you drown in your whiskey lake, Intel.
    Reply

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