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Intel CEO wants to see the industry shift its focus away from "benchmarks"

Sounds desperate, doesn't it?

Intel CEO wants to see the industry shift its focus away from

Intel CEO wants to see the industry shift its focus away from "benchmarks"

Intel's CEO, Bob Swan, has delivered a message at Computex 2020, a message straight from his office to the online exhibitions of Computex 2020. During this call, Swan made a bold statement, that the industry should "should see this moment as an opportunity to shift our focus as an industry from benchmarks to the benefits and impacts of the technology we create." 

For the past number of years, Intel has been speaking out against traditional benchmarking techniques, especially as AMD's Ryzen series processors became more and more comparative. Today, AMD's latest processors can surpass their Intel rivals in many benchmarks, especially when it comes to performance/watt metrics. 

Below is Swan's full quote regarding benchmarks, 
 

     We should see this moment as an opportunity to shift our focus as an industry from benchmarks to the benefits and impacts of the technology we create," he says. "The pandemic has underscored the need for technology to be purpose-built so it can meet these evolving business and consumer needs.

And this requires a customer-obsessed mindset to stay close, anticipate those needs, and develop solutions. In this mindset, the goal is to ensure we are optimising for a stronger impact that will support and accelerate positive business and societal benefits around the globe.


There are two ways that you can look at this statement from Intel's CEO. Firstly, it continues Intel's trend of moving away from traditional benchmarks and into the world of real-world impact and application performance. Some will see this an Intel admitting defeat, moving away from being the creators of the "world's best processors". Before the release of AMD's Zen architecture, Intel was the performance leader in all metrics, but now, AMD can come out on top across a range of applications, especially those which rely on high core/thread counts. Yes, Intel is still the performance leader in many applications, but they are no longer the best at practically everything. 

This statement is also a sign that Intel will be working more closely with its customers, and shift its focus to delivering products which will have a larger impact on the computing market that what standards benchmarks would suggest. Intel's CEO has also made a bold statement that its upcoming Tiger Lake processors will be the "cement our position as the undisputed leader in mobile computing and PC innovation". Even so, Swan's other statements imply that the advantages of Tiger Lake may not be seen in traditional benchmarks. As far as Tiger Lake is concerned, we will have to wait and see what Intel can deliver later this summer.     
   


With AMD being more competitive than ever before, Intel needs to do what it can to maintain is market dominance. Yes, AMD has made significant strides since the release of Zen in 2017, but Intel remains the undisputed leader of the x86 market when it comes to sales volumes and profit. Now, Intel needs to fight to maintain that lead, and it will be exciting to see what Intel will come up with in response to AMD's rise within the x86 market. 

You can join the discussion on Intel's shift from "benchmarks" on the OC3D Forums

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Most Recent Comments

02-06-2020, 06:54:43

m2geek
That's some very loud Loser talk.Quote

02-06-2020, 07:02:12

AlienALX
So benchmarks are fine, so long as you win.

Noted.Quote

02-06-2020, 07:43:38

tgrech
Tbh I think the problem is more that Intel used to be so obsessed with specific unrepresentative synthetic benchmarks, than that they are now opposed to them, at least as long as this is a genuine shift and they remain opposed to them even when they put them ahead.

But saying that, marketing departments will use anything they get, and they're used to working with and pumping out much flimsier things than some somewhat unrepresentative benchmarks, so yeah I doubt this will last as a whole-company message thing.

But still, shifting resources towards optimising actual real world applications is always a good thing imo, many top benchmarks are pretty optimal in efficiency and their use of new instructions, but for them to be representative applications need to do the same. (And AMD will get a lot of this optimisation done for free in gaming because of their design wins)Quote

02-06-2020, 08:18:50

RobM
LMAO @Intels attitude now.
Benches were fine when they were at to top, giving tiny increments of performance with iteration over a decade.
suck it up buttercupQuote

02-06-2020, 08:30:02

WYP
Quote:
Originally Posted by tgrech View Post
Tbh I think the problem is more that Intel used to be so obsessed with specific unrepresentative synthetic benchmarks, than that they are now opposed to them, at least as long as this is a genuine shift and they remain opposed to them even when they put them ahead.

But saying that, marketing departments will use anything they get, and they're used to working with and pumping out much flimsier things than some somewhat unrepresentative benchmarks, so yeah I doubt this will last as a whole-company message thing.

But still, shifting resources towards optimising actual real world applications is always a good thing imo, many top benchmarks are pretty optimal in efficiency and their use of new instructions, but for them to be representative applications need to do the same. (And AMD will get a lot of this optimisation done for free in gaming because of their design wins)
Part of Intel's success was that they were good at everything, even those niche workloads. Even today, there are workloads that Ryzen isn't as good as Intel at. So yes, Intel push to be good in niche use cases, it did work out for them.

As far as Intel's real-world strategy goes, I feel that they push the benchmarks that suit them. It was argued that CineBench R20 wasn't useful as not many people use Cinema4D, but then they pushed Matlab 2019, a software which also has a small (albeit dedicated) userbase. The funny thing was that Matlab 2020 enabled AVX support for AMD CPUs and took away Intel's advantage.

When Intel moves from Skylake, it will be a BIG jump, but a lot of that is because Intel has had to postpone 5 years of architectures over their 10nm kerfuffle. That's a lot of time to work on IPC increases and new features.

While focusing on impact is a good thing, looking at niche applications is important too. Reworking one area could benefit multiple other workloads, and boasting a 20+% gain in a specific workload is a big deal for certain markets.

TBH, I think Intel needs to push AVX-512 onto its mainstream desktop processors. That way, they can get software developers to utilise it and give Intel a significant performance advantage across applicable workloads. AMD can't match that right now, but the longer they wait, the more time AMD has to catch up.Quote
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