Intel ships first batch of new processors as it plays catch-up in AI race

Chipmaker says product produced in Leixlip will usher in ‘new generation of personal computers’ with dedicated AI

Chipmaker Intel has shipped the first batch of its most power-efficient processor, which it says will usher in “a new generation of personal computers” with dedicated AI and machine learning capabilities.

The group said the processors, called Meteor Lake, signify the company’s “largest architectural shift in 40 years”.

The move is timely for Intel, which has seen its stock slump on the Nasdaq as it plays catch-up in the AI race. Its share tumbled 13 per cent on Friday following a bleak first-quarter revenue outlook. It was the biggest intraday decline since July 2020.

While AI is driving a boom in the chip sector, Intel seems to be an exception, analysts said. Semiconductor-makers that make chips for the heavy data needs for generative AI were among the biggest winners in the stock market in 2023.


“AI seems like [it is] everywhere except at Intel,” said Hans Mosesmann, analyst at Rosenblatt Securities, which has a sell rating on the stock.

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: “There’s a danger Intel is being left behind as chips from the likes of Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices play an increasingly important role in the data-hungry AI industry.”

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Intel said the new processors mark “a significant milestone on our journey to deliver five process nodes in four years, as we continue to accelerate the delivery of core products and maintain an intense focus on delivering a predictable cadence of leadership products for our customers”.

The shipment of the processors was made from the company’s Fab 34 plant in Leixlip. Work on Fab 34 began in 2019 and involved an investment of €17 billion.

The new facility has resulted in 1,600 permanent new roles being created by Intel here and doubled the tech giant’s manufacturing space in Ireland. It is the company’s first high-volume manufacturing location for Intel 4 products.

The processing chips produced at the new facility are to be used in laptops and desktop computers used by consumers and businesses.

Since 1989, Intel has invested more than €30 billion in Leixlip, creating what it describes as “the most advanced industrial campus in Europe”.

Intel’s most recent Fab expansion in Kildare is on track to lift its total number of Irish-based employees to 6,500.

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter