After years of stagnant or declining growth, global PC shipments were up in 2020 due largely to an increase in notebook sales as people hunkered down to work and school from home during the global pandemic.

And it looks like Intel rode that success to better-than-expected revenue. In the company’s latest earning report, Intel says “PC unit volumes” in the fourth quarter of the year were up 33 percent over the same period in 2019, “led by record notebook sales.”

But that apparently wasn’t good enough for investors, because the company’s stock price plunged this morning. One possible reason? The company faces some challenges in the coming years.

Specifically, while Intel has finally worked out the kinks in its 10nm manufacturing process and has migrated most of its chips to the new node, the company isn’t expected to make the move to 7nm until 2023, which is later than Intel had originally hoped to hit that target.

Rival AMD, meanwhile, has already transitioned to 7nm for its latest laptop and desktop processors. While you can’t directly compare one company’s 7nm technology to the other’s, the point is that Intel has been much slower to move from one node to the next in recent years.

In fact, in order to meet its 2023 deadline, Intel’s incoming CEO Pat Gelsinger told investors that “it’s likely that we will expand our use of external foundries for certain technologies and products,” but that the company does still expect that the majority of its chip manufacturing will likely be done in-house rather than by outsourcing jobs to third-party foundries like TSMC.


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2 replies on “Intel ends 2020 on a strong note thanks to “record notebook sales,” but 7nm chips aren’t coming until 2023”

  1. I wonder what the AMD profit would have been if they had supplied customer demand in 2020. Intel did a great job at meeting customer demand for the most part. Not securing enough manufacturing capacity cost AMD billions in lost revenue… both companies needed new CEOs, only Intel got one.

    1. I wouldn’t go too far as saying AMD has a problem, or needs to replace their CEO. They were basically non-existent in tablets, laptops, consoles, servers, and very poor performer in Desktops. Now? They’re leading in laptops, consoles, servers, and practically dominating the desktop. Just remember where they were, where they are, and where they’re leading to.

      AMD FX-9590 + AMD R9 390X + (PS4, XB1)
      vs Intel i7-4970k + GTX 980 + (Nvidia Shield)

      AMD r7-1700 + AMD RX 480 + (PS4 Pro, XB1X)
      vs Intel i7-6700k + GTX 1080 + (Nintendo Switch)

      AMD r9-3950x + AMD 5700Xt
      vs Intel i9-9900k + RTX 2080-S

      AMD r9-5950x + AMD 6800Xt + (PS5, XsX)
      vs Intel i9-10900k + RTX 3080 + (Switch Pro?)

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