EVO is likely to become a prominent client-segment processor brand by Intel as it wades into the post-Core product generation. Intel just registered a large tranche of trademarks and logos
with the USPTO. It begins with a re-design of Intel's corporate identity from the ground-up, including the company's main logo. A clean new typeface replaces the one Intel has been using since the original Core i7 from a decade ago. The brands are placed with simple geometric backgrounds with fewer color gradients. The brand extension (i3/i5/i7/i9) is located at the bottom-right corner. The distinction between two logos, "EVO Powered by Core"
and just Core i3
, caught our eye. We speculate that EVO could refer to a new category of Hybrid processors (chips with more than one kind of CPU core), and could debut with "Alder Lake." The non-EVO chips could have only one kind of CPU core, and given the timing of this trademark application (July 2020), we expect it to debut only with the processor that succeeds "Tiger Lake," as notebooks based on the new chips may already be under mass-production. In any case, it's only a matter of the notebook ODM (eg: Quanta, Compal, Foxconn, etc.,) placing a sticker on the product or its packaging. It's also interesting to note the "powered by Core" subtext in the EVO branding. Intel could be using this to transition between the two brands.
Intel has $82 Billion in shareholder equity, of which $8 Billion is in cold, hard cash. $44 Billion in "current assets" and only ~$22 Billion in liabilities. Intel today could spend $20 Billion on one moonshot project and still have money left over to continue their operations. In the short term, it is clear that Intel is screwing up their process. But a giant pile of $20 Billion+ can turn things around, as long as the board + executives do the right thing with it. Based on other companies (IBM, Sears, etc. etc.) that have entered long periods of decline... Intel could easily remain giant for a decade to come, coasting entirely on its cash pile alone. And who knows? Maybe Intel really can turn things around and return to dominance.
In other news, Intel is apparently seeking external assistance and it seems like a deal has already been struck with TSMC
which is now believed to be the designated foundry that can assist with Intel's 7 nm chip production in 2021. Intel indicated that its own 7 nm production will end up delayed by at least 6 months due to design defects, plus we know that AMD is ready to launch 5 nm CPUs by next year, so now that Intel can tap external foundries, the delay may never occur. However, Intel's manufacturing nodes are not exactly compatible with TSMC's nodes. The upcoming 7 nm node from Intel is comparable to TSMC's 5 nm node
as far as transistor densities and yields are concerned, which means Intel actually needs to validate and supply necessary design changes so that TSMC can repurpose its 5 nm and 3 nm EUV nodes. Another DigiTimes source reports that TSMC could also help Intel with the 10 nm production for upcoming CPUs and GPUs. The node discrepancies are still there, so the 10 nm Intel process is actually similar to TSMC's 6 nm process. The two companies will need to work together in order to redesign the photomasks for select 10 nm Intel CPUs and GPUs, ensuring the compatibility with TSMC's nodes. Apparently, Intel already ordered 180,000 wafers to be produced on the TSMC 6 nm node in 2021.