intel builds a mean fab
They're moving to 45cm wafers? And at 22nm? That's a lot of chips per wafer. Wonder what the yield figures are; whether this isn't simply a brute force approach to too many broken chips in production. Just too bad they're not doing too well with the other side of chip innovation. How's itanic, these days?
The thing is of course that it's becoming increasingly clear you don't really need all that processing muscle for day-to-day computing needs. An ARM core or two like in a recent smart phone would do pretty well on the desktop, too. Provided your software is halfway efficient and doesn't waste most of the cycles available on eye candy. We might even see people attach a keyboard and mouse to a tablet, stick it in a stand, and write emails, letters, do homework, that way. Leave the keyboard at home but take the tablet. Another upshot: No active cooling, so not as noisy as a laptop. Even atom still runs too hot to fit this purpose.
It might be that intel simply isn't making enough headway fast enough in the lower end of the computing spectrum to not end up in a slowly contracting but, of course, for the foreseeable future still rather large niche. Should, say, ti manage ARM cores in something comparable to 22nm tri-state, intel will have a serious problem, even if they're two nodes ahead by then. And though I actually know very little about the economics involved, I wouldn't be surprised if it turns out that 45cm wafers aren't necessary to stay competetive if the chip itself is small enough. The high end are monsters, but if say only a quarter of the same chip real estate is already enough for a nice product with a good margin....
Which is to say, intel has some very, very nice cards in its hands, but not all its cards are on an equal footing, not quite. So the competition needn't fold yet, which I'm sure they won't do.