In the first half of 2017, chip giant Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) has released many products, including its seventh-generation Core processors for notebook and desktop computers, as well as its first Core X-series processors for the high-end desktop personal computer market.
However, compared with what the company has in store for the remainder of the year, what we've seen so far looks rather tame.
Let's consider three Intel product launches that I'm looking forward to and why investors should care about them.
The big Purley launch
Intel's most important growth business is its data-center group, commonly abbreviated DCG. While this business has been a nice source of growth for the company for many years, it hasn't grown as quickly as the company had hoped over the last several years.
This year, Intel expects DCG revenue to grow at a "high-single-digit" rate, though the company's long-term revenue growth here is a "low-double-digit" rate.
One way Intel can try to juice growth is to bring out new and compelling products. New products not only give potential customers reasons to upgrade their current hardware infrastructure, but with sufficient feature and performance additions, as well as sensible product segmentation efforts, the company can also try to boost its processor average selling prices.
Sometime this summer, Intel is expected to launch its next-generation server processor platform, known as Purley. With Purley, Intel not only promises to bring faster processors to the table, but it's also promising a whole slew of new feature additions to the platform.
Intel's first revision of the Purley platform should be the main driver of the company's DCG revenue over the next year, though the company has indicated there are several such revisions in the pipeline. It'll be interesting to see how this one affects DCG's business performance.
In the second half of this year -- probably in the fall -- Intel is expected to launch its eighth-generation Core processor family for some types of notebook and desktop personal computers.
Intel is expected to launch a product known as Kaby Lake-Refresh for notebook personal computers. These chips will include four processor cores and be manufactured in a new 14-nanometer++ technology, potentially providing a significant performance upgrade over the current Kaby Lake U-series notebook chips that have just two processor cores and are manufactured in the company's less powerful 14-nanometer+ technology.
Intel is also expected to launch its first Coffee Lake processors for the enthusiast portion of the desktop personal computer market. These chips are also expected to be manufactured in the company's 14-nanometer++ technology and include up to six processor cores, up from the four processor cores currently available in the enthusiast-oriented Kaby Lake processors.
Intel has indicated that to keep its personal computer processor average selling prices robust, it aims to release new products at an annual clip that offer improved performance, features, and integration.
Those high-core count Core X chips
Although Intel has formally announced its entire Core X processor lineup for high-end desktop personal computers, only the chips with between four and 10 cores are currently available for pre-order.
Intel says a Core X processor with 12 cores will arrive in August, while variants with 14, 16, and 18 cores will launch in October.
While the 12- to 18-core parts are certainly niche products that are likely to sell in rather small quantities, they should be rather lucrative for the company. Furthermore, since the products are being released in multiple phases, Intel gets multiple opportunities to launch products, build buzz for the new chips (as well as the rest of the chips in the product line), and so on.