Entering text into the input field will update the search result below

AMD Vs. Intel: Battle For FPGA Leadership

Dec. 03, 2021 8:43 PM ETIntel Corporation (INTC), AMD212 Comments
Arne Verheyde profile picture
Arne Verheyde


  • Given AMD's Xilinx acquisition, questions arise about who will hold FPGA leadership going forward.
  • Intel Agilex FPGA achieves 30-50% higher performance and 2x performance per watt than Xilinx Versal.
  • Intel further leads in innovation due to leadership transceivers, chiplet and 3D packaging, and AI performance.
  • This means there is one clear winner. Intel is the unquestioned leader in FPGAs. Xilinx-AMD could be in trouble.

Entrance of The Intel Museum in Silicon Valley.
JHVEPhoto/iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Investment Thesis

With AMD (NASDAQ:AMD) acquiring Xilinx (XLNX), the multi-decade competition with Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) will continue in FPGAs going forward. While not a segment that is as closely followed (as

This article was written by

Arne Verheyde profile picture
With an engineering background, looking for companies with expertise to be well-positioned for growth and leadership.

Analyst’s Disclosure: I/we have a beneficial long position in the shares of INTC either through stock ownership, options, or other derivatives. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Seeking Alpha's Disclosure: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. Any views or opinions expressed above may not reflect those of Seeking Alpha as a whole. Seeking Alpha is not a licensed securities dealer, broker or US investment adviser or investment bank. Our analysts are third party authors that include both professional investors and individual investors who may not be licensed or certified by any institute or regulatory body.

Recommended For You

Comments (212)

Mike Bruzzone profile picture
Find out how AMD stock price valuation is being manipulated down by associate network under the cover of "inflation" and "chip shortage" no data can prove for x86 and what about annual leadership FPGA volume?

Find Camp Marketing decomposition of Mercury Research AMD q4 market share report here;


Mike Bruzzone, Camp Marketing
XLNX has more than 50% of the FPGA market in China
CEO tech guy is not a politics guy

"The news of the signing of the act came after US chip giant Intel faced fierce criticism from Chinese netizens as the company required its suppliers to not source goods or service or use labor from China's Xinjiang.

Even its apology on Thursday could not ease the Chinese people's rage, with many people calling for more commercial ramifications."

""If some companies abide by the US sanctions out of fear of the law, or even help promote this dismaying trend, China could put them into the list for countermeasures and ask these companies to prove they did not implement the US sanctions," Li noted. "

Yet Cn, despite the referenced article above, did approve of the merger between AMD and Xilinx:


So is it ' war is war but commerce is commerce?'
Merger is not yet approved end of year is target but can be later than that too

People seem to forget USA and China are not at war, after 40 years they are tied to each other in complex ways.
The US on the worlds stage is a bull in the china shop while China is very sensitive to insult ... not a great match.

In the face of that money talks

So in politic speak, the quote I referenced communicates that China has approved the terms of the merger otherwise as you note, China being as sensitive to public criticism as they are would not have been so positive in their statements within the article. I ask you, where else does China have a remote possibility of having a 3 nm ally but with a manufacturer with a Chinese culture like AMD, and access to advanced FPGA from the same source. Intel is a non-starter and Nvidia doesn't offer the same sympatico with China because lacking the history with MSFT and that value chain, and Nvidia will not be allowed to sell east and west if ( a big 'IF') the ARM acquisition is approved. And Qualcomm, China does not want to adhere to their licensing model even if Qualcomm is not a 'protected' technology, which it will be.

The China-US relationship has been fraught since the US sided with the Kuomintang, which smoothening of their relationship has been greased by, as you note, 'money talks'. The two have managed cohabitation and commerce which gap in agreement is being amplified by nationalism on both sides today. It is a war but not in the physical sense, rather a contest to see who will become the most feared and respected in the world as nationalism on both sides debases the discourse.
As a FPGA veteran who has been in this industry over a decade, with experience from both the FPGA vendor itself aa well as a consumer of FPGa in several of the FANNMG companies, I can say the author clearly doesn't know this industry and just read some brochure. Since Intel took over Altera, the market went from duopoly to Xilijx dominating the market. Everyone, including leadership at Microsoft who's still drinking Intel's coolaid due to most of them coming from Intel, knows this.
stockroach profile picture
Looks like the little parasite AMD is going to follow Intel again.
1) AMD buys a FPGA company more than 2x what Intel spend. 6 years later
2) Will add CXL in 2024, two years later than Intel
3) Going to use OneAPI
and now follow Intel into hybrid chips. Two years later.

INTC 5day Market does not care tax loss selling just hitting

Dex4Sure profile picture
@stockroach In this frenzy that AMD is in right now, people have forgotten Intel is still the x86 juggernaut.
Your descriptions of FPGA vs processors (CPU-GPU) don't mention two key advantages of FPGA namely more efficient use of energy (you mention increased performance per watt for FPGA but don't link it to increased battery performance) and reduced task completion (less wattage, less heat generated) latency. Your article reduces FPGA to a data center enhancement of CPU-GPU processing, bus speeds, data transport etc.

If an industry really knows its business (automotive, process control, switching) so EV-AV, process control, and telecommunications are also extraordinarily (not talking 5G infrastructure alone) large and critical markets for FPGA.

So the battlefield is orders of magnitude larger than data centers and 5G.

When AMD purchased ATI eons ago, I like everyone in the industry thought, 'what the heck?' Well, 'what the heck' has now delivered a ten bagger since the ATI acquisition. AMD is adaptive, conservative, and they execute on their vision is what they have proven.

That China has apparently signed off on AMD's acquisition of Xilinx speaks volumes about AMD's larger TAM by country and region than Intel imo. Processors are king, but FPGA play all the other pieces in the back row on the new hardware chessboard, including in more diverse markets than data servers and the back plane.

Current performance of the silicon, unifying resource access toolkit (Intel's oneAPI), and prospective architecture are not a reason to buy Intel over AMD until proven. Intel's failed foray into mobility modems demonstrates that Intel needs to increase its mastery of technology other than processor and processor manufacturing to win in this FPGA battle with AMD.

I think both Intel and AMD are good investments, but Intel today because of its use in infrastructure improvements in the US and improvements in trade relations with aligned countries that is occurring today.
If Intel is not terrified of the Xilinx/AMD deal then they will get crushed as they ignored the Ryzen lineup until it was to late.

Some facts
Xilinx has a 50% market share on the FPGA market
AMD has the world's fastest server CPU.
AMD with it's limited R&D was able to not just beat Intel's offering but shot past it by over a year. (Intel r&d dwarfs AMD)
AMD will no longer be the little guy following the acquisition the R&D is about to double.
The partnerships that come with Xilinx and the doors it opens up

Intel's biggest problem isn't AMD, Xilinx, Nvidia, Qualcomm, Apple, TSM.... It's themselves. Intel is spread thin and fighting battles on many fronts and burning through their cash flow. Their growth was slow before now it will look like a rock.

No AMD/Xilinx aren't in trouble. If anything they are in a perfect spot to make massive strides in the semi space.

If you think I'm wrong just look at my post history.
geekinasuit profile picture
@TechGen "Intel's biggest problem isn't AMD, Xilinx, Nvidia, Qualcomm, Apple, TSM.... It's themselves. "

Pat Gelsinger, is on record stating:

"I haven't lost share to AMD, I've given share to AMD, because I didn't have capacity. So a lot of this is just catch up to our growing market and years of under investment"

Pat G has taken clownery to a whole new level. What CEO would ever say such a thing??? He appears to be saying that AMD did not compete effectively to gain market share, rather Intel's only problem has to do with being under capacity! It all does make sense though, if you understand how Intel monopolized the market for over a decade. They did it by flooding the market with "cheap" CPU's sold to OEMs using backroom deals designed to shut AMD out of the market. That's exactly what Pat G telegraphed when he made that clownish statement about handing AMD market share due to being under capacity.

The man is a dinosaur, he doesn't seem to realize that even if Intel had sufficient capacity to flood the market with "cheap" CPU's, he could not make the same backroom deals to shut AMD out because the entire ecosystem has become radically different from the old monopoly days. How in the heck does he think Apple could walk away from Intel? How in the heck could the biggest buyers of servers today manage to get away with buying directly from AMD and other manufactures? He seems to have no clue what's been going on since he left Intel during the height of Intel's racketeering days.
C185 profile picture
Great article. It's now clear that Intel was looking way ahead when they purchased Altera in 2015. It's not about the legacy FPGA market. It was about their vision for data center, network edge, and AI acceleration. The key is also software, where OneAPI comes in.

Xilinx-AMD isn't just behind in hardware. Their even bigger problem is that software vision. The Xilinx-AMD merger is a very late response, with Lisa Su and Victor Peng realizing they're in deep doo-doo.

"Inspur, Ruijie, Silicom Expand Intel IPU Ecosystem"


Not sure about saying cpu+FPGA doesn't make sense. The Oak Springs Canyon platform looks like it could be a future tiled Xeon+FPGA package.

@C185 FYI Xilinx has 55% market share in FPGA market share. AMD has the world's fastest server CPU.

No idea where you get this notion that AMD and Xilinx are behind in hardware. because they are not. Not by a long shot.
Intel is floundering and anyone can tell given the unprofessionalism from Pat's comments about AMD and TSM
C185 profile picture
Like I said, this isn't about the legacy FPGA market, so it's irrelevant. If Lisa Su is paying what is now $60 billion for Xilinx's existing FPGA business than this acquistion is going to be a disaster for her and AMD shareholders.

P.s. Gelsinger didn't say anything about AMD or TSMC. He spoke about the geopolitical risks of being concentrated in Taiwan, which is well known and why both the US and Europe are looking at diversifying away from the China-Taiwan axis. If you're too emotionally fragile to hear such news that's your problem.
"Intel is floundering"

52W High -24.66% That new CEO smell is gone too
Real007 profile picture
Fab capability (with scale and "chameleon-like" / rapid "re-tooling" processes) will matter longer term -- AMD uses Taiwan Semi's 7nm Fab for example, NVDA is "fabless". My take is the "fabulous" companies (those with Fab up and running or coming will be the long term winners) -- INTC has tons of scale, "re-tooling", Fab in the pipeline, new Fab in AZ and NM (coming online in 2022-23). If INTC gets its 7nm act together, stock could revisit earlier highs easily.

Disclosure: long INTC (high 40s)
Intel announced new IPU collaborations today, making use of their FPGAs and Xeons.

stockroach profile picture
Some news must have leaked as Intel up close to $3.00 after hours
"after hours"
Not on Nasdaq
Real007 profile picture
@stockroach News always "leaks" --- Dirty Wall Street is built on it, an institutionalized process (while the clueless SEC sleeps at the switch).
Xilinx market share is bigger. How does this make sense?
It's like saying Nvidia lost since Intel AI chips are faster (Habana). In reality - no one uses Intel for AI.
@namlu Absolutely true intel has gained no market from the altera acquisition. xilinx is leader on every field there ....
Mike Bruzzone profile picture
FPGA its all about when u drop the controller array on top of the streaming array or stacks on arrays with or without the controller array's SRAM layer backed up by CPU control plan and with CXL on memory controllers distributed throughout the system complex. mb
The cherry on top of Pat's ~"I gave away AMD's market share" absurdity, is that share was taken in his absence.

Even in the unlikely event that you accept management DID give it away, it wasnt he who did it.

Stuff like this must really set off alarm bells among customers betting their IT roadmaps on Intel?
Mike Bruzzone profile picture
AMD and Intel Full Product Line Comparison UPDATE NOW AVAILABE adds Nvidia;


Dr.X profile picture
05 Dec. 2021
@Arne Verheyde its all about One-Stop-Shopping (OSS) as Lisa said at Credit Suisse,

"Some may be more looking for the leading-edge performance. Some may want ASICs. Some may want some different combination of CPUs and GPUs. That's the whole range of optimization. And our view of the world is, yes, there's going to be optimization."

Hyperscalars want tailored solutions, and now that Intel is yesterday's vender, AMD must fill in the gaps in their portfolio of value! Everyone wants one-stop-shopping, and they will pay a premium to have seamless integration. I would argue that Intel probably failed to provide an optimum OSS experience, even during their leadership years.
05 Dec. 2021
No such thing. AMD already won, 3-5 years ago.
Dex4Sure profile picture
@Ed338 You're in for a rude awakening if you thought leadership in this sector is permanent. Not long ago it seemed like Intel had won for good ever since Sandy Bridge came out... And AMD's Bulldozer being worse than even their previous generation in many ways. If you're planning to buy and hold AMD for 5 years now, its a good way to part with your money.
"good way to part with your money."
5 years from now INTC marketing will be re-naming 3nm and 2A
Dex4Sure profile picture
@RUBYRUBY3 5 years from now either ARM has seriously taken over market share from x86, or at the very least Intel has knocked out AMD. Intel will be using TSMC 3nm before AMD does for their data center CPU's. Couldn't get much more bearish for AMD over the long time frame. Not to mention Intel's entry into the GPU market will seriously threaten AMD's 2nd position there. AMD used to have the option of being at least budget option when they couldn't compete with Nvidia, now they won't have anywhere to hide.

AMD story is all about stealing market share, when that story starts to crack or reverse its when the stock collapses. NVDA is whole another beast by contrast, its a real market leader & innovator creating new markets which it dominates. AMD's growth story is mainly based on Intel continuing to slack, long term its something I wouldn't count on. Unlike the previous Intel CEO's, Pat Gelsinger is an engineer and chip designer. Intel will have access to TSMC 3nm before AMD does, too.
If you are enjoying all of the spin in this article, please remember that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Here is Pat Gelsinger's latest spin on AMD's success:


"I haven't lost share to AMD, I've given share to AMD, because I didn't have capacity. So a lot of this is just catch up to our growing market and years of under investment."

🤣🤣🤣 The reason that Intel did not "have capacity" is because their 10-nm process was years late and nowhere to be found when needed. Moreover, AMD had the foresight to develop a chiplet architecture that was very robust to yield issues. On Wednesday, Gelsinger participated in the Fortune Brainstorm Tech Conference. For some reason, he decided to opine about Taiwan and said:


"Taiwan is not a stable place," said Gelsinger, adding that Beijing sent 27 warplanes to Taiwan's air defense identification zone this week. "Does that make you feel more comfortable or less?"

When reporters asked Mark Liu (Chairman of TSMC) about this comment, he responded:

"[T]here's nothing that needs to be addressed. TSMC does not speak ill of other companies in the industry."

Apparently, someone forgot to tell Gelsinger that Intel is currently negotiating with TSMC for 3-nm production capacity (which is ironic given Gelsinger's blithe dismissal of AMD). Last I checked, it is bad business practice to talk disparagingly about your potential partner. Can you imagine Lisa Su acting like this?
@state_of_affairs He is not only acted like a crying baby but an ah now. No offense.
@state_of_affairs I'd add I think that 3D stacking is limited by heat and AMD always planed to implement 2.5D and 3D when node size and heat allowed it. AMD has implemented 2.5 D chiplet at 7nm (Intel 10nm) but 3D stacking waits till sub 5nm.
productivityLeaps profile picture
@state_of_affairs Gelsinger's rhetoric is a scream of DESPERATION and it is sad he's willing to enter the geopolitical foray and kinda pour accelerant on it

like I've noted before on SA, INTC will end up after their Hail Mary throws with a dGPU and AL, as the 800 lb. gorilla of comodified chips (trailing and lagging edge)
Intel says it wants their IFS to be considered for RISV developers, and is providing an extendable riscv soft processor model for their fpgas.


They also mentioned building a riscv evaluation chip on their EUV process in 2022.


So ... I guess not surprising that they are also providing riscv fpga models.
geekinasuit profile picture
@jayn I like RISC-V, it's license free and extensible. There's not much of a market for RISC-V yet, so whatever Intel is planning for may take a while to ramp, however it's nice to see Intel backing it, assuming they do not intend to kill it because Intel is full of contradictions and conflicts of interest. I'd like to see AMD+XLNX take on RISC-V as well, that will further boost RISC-V adoption.
@geekinasuit risc v is there already only you don't see it as the manufacturer don't need to publish that they are using it is much bigger than people tought
geekinasuit profile picture
@nick83ola_00 I'm interested in learning more about RISC-V adoption. Do you have sources to share?
I'm amused by the idea that somehow Intel has superior package design and somehow this means that all of a sudden because AMD is going to get into the FPGA game that big blue will ramp up some unknow dark horse and keep AMD in the stables with their new play. First of all, the fact that Intel has sat on their hands and done little in the way of paring FPGA's into chiplet designs is hardly one to make such a broad assumption that they will have some dominance in a head competition. Especially as Xilinx is the leader in that domain. Secondly, this idea that Intel has superior packaging I just find to be a bad marking joke. Take of look at their slick web page here: www.intel.com/...
What we have here is a bunch of reactionary attempts to create some sort of an answer to what AMD lead with when they introduced fabric as the interconnect median for their chiplet designs and also moving the controller off from the mobo into the heart of the CPU - a move that has paid off with so many advantages to their design and packaging options. 3D stacking is almost silly. Where does the heat go but it the over-under members, highly reducing thermal performance. Even with AL, the big-little approach show off how much Intel is trying to do some sort of chiplet design but has to avoid AMD's IP in it's approach. There are some points of physics you just can't get around which make one approach to an issue better than anther. AMD took the lead on packaging 5 years ago, and boy have they proved it works. This design is going to work in every thing they put out for a long time to come. From the CPUs, The GPUs and soon the workload optimized FPGA-CPU-GPUs in as AMD had started calling heterogenous computing many years ago. Intel is now making the cheep knock offs and any of us who work with these things on a daily understand this. BTW, did Pat just try to say he gave away market share to AMD... what a Joker.
Mike Bruzzone profile picture

For the technical observations. mb
I believe xilinx has already moved towards adopting oneapi. They had a sycl development, trySYCL already. AMD has hipSYCL.


Intel provides an fpga emulator in their free downloads with oneapi. Very simple to move between that emulator and gpu back-end for the examples in the dpc++ book. Amazingly, they are also providing optimization tools for the hardware.

Don't get too excited about reprogramming an fpga at run-time, though. Anything beyond reprogramming simple configuration switches will take hours.
Mike Bruzzone profile picture

Tensor cores (RT) MCUs are controlling processor and on top of streaming arrays and SRAM fabrics now on their application program not too say that re-programmability in a switch or router packet inspection is not occurring now. I think it is. mb
Disagree with this article? Submit your own. To report a factual error in this article, . Your feedback matters to us!

About INTC

SymbolLast Price% Chg
Market Cap
Yield (TTM)
Rev Growth (YoY)
Short Interest
Prev. Close
Compare to Peers

More on INTC

Related Stocks

SymbolLast Price% Chg
To ensure this doesn’t happen in the future, please enable Javascript and cookies in your browser.
Is this happening to you frequently? Please report it on our feedback forum.
If you have an ad-blocker enabled you may be blocked from proceeding. Please disable your ad-blocker and refresh.