Radio Free HPC – Big Changes at Intel: Gelsinger Takes the Helm

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Our main topic today is Intel, with the bulk of the discussion surrounding the return of Pat Gelsinger as Intel’s new CEO. Pat was a 30-year veteran of Intel before he left to pursue other, well, pursuits – most notably as CEO of VMware. While at Intel, Pat spearheaded the development of the 486 architecture and was named Intel’s first CTO. As we note in the call, he should have very high credibility with the tech set within Intel while his track record at growing VMware should have the respect of the financial and marketing types. It’s a good fit, according to us.

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But we’re not so happy about another Intel move:  canceling Optane SSDs for consumer devices like PCs and workstations. We have a very spirited argument over this decision. Shahin argues that this doesn’t really make much difference in terms of performance for consumers – few consumers need that kind of speed, and the replacement Optane H20, which combines flash cache with Optane behind it, is a suitable replacement. Henry and Dan vociferously disagree. It’s well recognized in the industry that Intel’s Optane drives, as Tom’s Hardware says “…are hands down the fastest SSDs on the planet, laying waste to competing NAND-based SSDs in nearly every conceivable metric – except cost and capacity.” Dan and Henry jointly argue that there are plenty of desktop/workstation applications that need this type of speed. Henry believes that Intel has made this decision too quickly, bringing up the point that Windows support for Optane has only just arrived and that it’s too soon to pull the plug.

Catch of the Week

Jessi:  Jessie brings up a story about the Navy getting a research grant that will help them enhance their aircraft performance. Go Navy!

Henry:  This really belongs in Henry’s “Reasons Why No One Should Ever be Online. Ever” feature, but we’re too lazy to do the editing required to make this work this week. Sorry. But Henry uncovered a great (read “scary”) story about how more than 10,000 firewalls and gateways are threated by a backdoor account that was recently found on Zyxel products. Damn, this kind of crap has to stop, but don’t think it will.

Shahin:  Shahin has two catches this week. The first shows just how strong TSMC has become in recent years. The company is investing up to $28 billion (!) to build advanced fab capacity. That’s a hell of a lot of money and represents vast confidence in the direction of the company. His second catch hits on the topsy-turvy world of cyber currency. Right now, today, the collective worth of all cyber currency has topped $1 trillion dollars in value – truly a milestone.

Dan:  Brings up a recent court ruling that compels Facebook to pay $650 million in a class action suit to compensate users for breaking Illinois privacy laws. While users in the class will get a measly $350 or so, the lawyers who brought the case will share $120 million between them. The lesson here? The lawyers always win and win bigger.