That’s all changed, and 2022 in particular is leading to a consequential crossroads in the market for hardware serving CAD. AMD now rides some serious momentum in the PC and server markets, and moreover, it’s established a beachhead with its first top-tier workstation model in over a decade: Lenovo’s ThinkStation P620. Intel meanwhile has uncharacteristically faltered in execution over recent years, just recently righting the ship with what’s shaping up to be its most formidable set of workstation-caliber CPUs in generations.
The combination has led us to a point where one of two things will happen in the coming quarters: following up with its new 2nd Generation Threadripper PRO 5000 family, AMD will finally break through from niche player and present substantial long-term competition in this space to Intel, or its progress will stagnate or fade in the face of Intel’s resurgence, as it did over a decade ago. We won’t know how things will pan out for a while, but the story will be one to watch, particularly for CAD users out shopping for new hardware.
Déjà vu for AMD in the Workstation Market:
Will It Play Out Differently This Time?
For the bulk of this century, Intel has had the market for workstations virtually to itself. That may surprise, as AMD has always maintained a meaningful presence in the market for desktop and laptop CPUs serving mainstream corporate and consumer markets. But the same has not held true in professional computing corners, where a decade and a half passed without a single top-tier workstation OEM (read “Dell, HP, or Lenovo”) offering an AMD CPU option.
The last time AMD seriously challenged came in the first decade of this millennium, catching Intel at a moment of competitive weakness and earning sockets in workstations from HP, IBM, and Sun, among others. But AMD subsequently failed to keep up with timely and compelling new generations of products and eventually again found itself absent in top-tier vendors’ wares.
Flash forward to the last few years of the CPU industry, where AMD again has capitalized on a vulnerable Intel, Where Intel had become lethargic in its architectural evolution back in the 00’s, this time the market leader stumbled uncharacteristically executing on its most venerable of technologies: silicon manufacturing. With a competitive, overhauled CPU architecture in Zen and access to an industry-leading process from TSMC, AMD’s first workstation-targeting Threadripper PRO 3000 generation succeeded in finally cracking the top-tier marketing in 2020 with Lenovo and its ThinkStation P620 workstation.
Now able to build off that foothold — along with a wider range of CPU products that can serve the breadth of the market as well — the time is ripe to parlay that initial win into meaningful market share. But just as it did in the second half of the 00s, Intel is regaining its footing, working past its recent struggles and in 2022 ramping what appear to be its most compelling CPUs to serve CAD workstations, from mainstream to maximum-demand applications.
Find out how AMD’s Threadripper PRO 5000 Zen 3 performs next to its predecessor, plus how new technology will benefit mainstream CAD workstations. Read more >>