My son is an avid gamer, which means he has the most powerful machine in our house, and has had for years.
Top-end video games are notorious consumers of processing power, which means they also wind up tethered to the wall. My son's current PC is a desktop.
Techies will talk about its 22 nanometer, tri-gate design, how it demonstrates the value of Intel owning its own fabrication plants or "fabs." But the real headlines here are power consumption - real low - and graphics processing.
The first should take market share from long-time rival AMD (NYSE:AMD), the second from graphics chip rival Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA). And we're not just talking about PCs anymore. Intel also has the chip contract for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) Macintosh line.
AMD is not surrendering, and it would do great damage to Intel if it did, because it would make Intel's market dominance obvious. Having dumped its stake in its own fabs, which were spun-out years ago as Global Foundries, and laid off 10% of its workers, the company is launching its own new line of notebook chips under the Radeon label. It hopes to grab a new contract with Dell's Alienware unit for game machines using the new chip, which is also compared with graphics chips from Nvidia.
What both Intel and AMD are betting on is a blurring of the line between tablets and notebooks with the introduction later this year of Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows 8. The iPad uses a Samsung-made chip with an ARM (NASDAQ:ARMH) design geared to power efficiency.
Anything hinting at a closer relationship between Intel and Apple is going to boost Intel's stock, which despite being up 28% in the last year still sports a PE of just 11.63 and a yield of 3%. I own 600 shares of Intel and I'm keeping them. Because it may finally be time for my son to get that laptop.
Additional disclosure: My stake in Intel is larger (in terms of shares) and more valuable (in terms of money) than my stake in any other tech stock.