(Pocket-lint) - A few years ago, AMD was in the wilderness. But the last couple of years has seen the PC chip world's second-biggest name experiencing something of a resurgence. And that's because of the great stuff it's doing, not because of misplaced nostalgia for the old days of the PC clockspeed wars.
It can't be said that Intel is doing well at the moment. Not only was there the damaging fiasco of its latest attempt to get a foothold in the mobile space with a now-dumped 5G modem, but its 10th generation Core chips were originally expected in 2015 (yes, really). They've just been announced at Computex 2019.
Intel is also only just moving process tech from 14nm to 10nm - well, it did manage to squeeze out a few 10nm Core i3 chips last year (that was Cannon Lake, in case you're interested in codenames).
AMD, on the other hand, has been able to move to the even more efficient 7nm and also revealed its latest Ryzen processors at Computex. The process comparison isn't strictly comparable between the two manufacturers, but it does provide a fascinating dimension to the ongoing battle.
At Computex AMD announced a raft of updates including its new Zen 2 core (that will also power the Sony PlayStation 5) and new 12 core, 24 thread high-end desktop processors to take the fight to Intel's Core i7 and i9.
And, if that wasn't enough, AMD then took the wraps off its next-gen RX 5700 graphics cards based on the 7nm Navi GPU architecture (coincidentally, we're expecting to hear a GeForce announcement from Nvidia seemingly branded 'Super' at E3 imminently).
The big difference between the two companies is that Intel has its own fabs to make the chips, whereas AMD is fabless (these days) just like Qualcomm, Apple and Huawei who rely on TSMC to make chips for them using the 7nm process.
To be fair to Intel, the 10th generation Core processors have some pretty impressive capabilities including an 18 percent increase in IPC (Instructions per Clock), while - according to Intel's own proclaimations of course - the integrated Gen11 Iris Pro graphics could be up to twice as powerful in some circumstances against the 8th generation Core UHD 620 solution.
As an interesting aside, Intel is also working on its own discrete graphics solution currently, which will arrive in 2020. After recent failures, Intel will be desperate to avoid a Larabee situation once again - Larabee was its last attempt to provide separate dedicated graphics which, after much fanfare, it then cancelled a decade ago.
Also at Computex, Intel also went large on its Project Athena blueprint for better thin-and-light notebooks Athena is essentially an Ultrabook 2.0 standard that will ensure Intel-based Windows notebooks continue to improve especially in terms of battery life and instant-on capabilities.
But it's hard to be mega excited about Athena when it's essentially a re-tread of what's gone before. It is, however, a way Intel can keep the pressure on vendors when a lot of them are surely considering producing always-on ARM-based notebooks running Qualcomm's Snapdragon platform - which also got a power-up at Computex.
And this is actually what will be most interesting in the PC space over the next few years- whether AMD can transfer its recent resurgence into sales outside of the enthusiast market, if ARM-based notebooks can make a serious impression and, of course, whether Intel can fight the attacks on all fronts.
Increased competition is something that Intel has needed for years, so it'll be fascinating to see how it plays out.