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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  • Midwayman - Tuesday, August 28, 2018 - link

    If they disclosed it would just be even more obvious how little progress intel has made in recent years.
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, August 28, 2018 - link

    Oh dear, if even Intel calls it a minor update...

    However, the 5W parts will be significant upgrades over existing 4.5W parts and for the rest the chipset updates are definitely "nice to have".
  • HStewart - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 - link

    This is the first 8th gen Y series and needs an update

    The Chipset sounds like a major update especially where these CPU are aim - less space on mobile device. Means smaller device and more battery - which appears to be trend with mobile phones but no one complains there. ( not saying you are complaining )
  • V900 - Tuesday, August 28, 2018 - link

    Overall a nice little upgrade, considering both the process and the architecture is the same.

    Turbo boost is 5-600 MHz higher on the Whisky Lake c
  • milkywayer - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 - link

    $300 for a mobile i3.
    That is some milking!
    AMD needs to copmete harder.

    These chips should be part of $500 laptops instead.
  • mmrezaie - Tuesday, August 28, 2018 - link

    Oh, I very much enjoyed the 'Editor’s Opinion' part. I would like to see this in very out of the blue news articles where there is no obvious conclusion. But you may have a discussion or as a better name editor's opinion section.
  • mmrezaie - Tuesday, August 28, 2018 - link

    Also, I wonder why Intel's IPC has not changed in the past three years. Does IPC only increase with node improvement? And this is the reason I think they are not forthcoming with more information these days since the new information doesn't have any hype anymore!
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, August 28, 2018 - link

    The Skylake architecture is highly optimized, so further gains are very hard (i.e. costly) to achieve. So they likely have to go for major changes to achieve any meaningful improvement. They've announced they're working on this, but it's 2+ years away. Maybe they thought frequency and core count increases, like they have been providing since the first Skylake, are cheaper to achieve and sufficient until the new architecture takes over.
  • hecksagon - Tuesday, August 28, 2018 - link

    This. Now they are getting power efficiency and clock speed gains from process improvements. Enough in this case that they can toss in a couple more cores and improve performance meaningfully that way.
  • witeken - Tuesday, August 28, 2018 - link

    IPC has not increased because Skylake was the only architecture Intel planned for 14nm and didn't backport Ice Lake.

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