It is a sign of the changing times that the name ARM was mentioned six times by three senior Intel employees in front of journalists at a major launch event. It is clear that AMD is no longer a potent threat to Intel's business and ARM is now the major rival.
Currently Intel outrageously dominates the laptop, desktop and server processor markets with Sandy Bridge easily beating AMD's top end models without breaking sweat, leaving the Austin-based fabless company to compete on price.
AMD will bet on Bulldozer to close the performance gap with Sandy Bridge but it will take some exceptional engineering feat for it to happen. But then, all this may prove futile as Ivy Bridge will launch a few months later shifting the goal posts even further with a 30 per cent or so performance increase over Sandy Bridge.
Therefore, one might concur that ARM rather than AMD is the main reason why Intel is shifting to 3-D Tri-gate now rather than later and is determined to accelerate its own tick-tock cycle.
Sandy Bridge has more than enough firepower to keep AMD's finest at bay. But Intel knows that it has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to matching ARM's ability to help delivering products that are either power efficient or downright powerful.
Tri-Gate technology will allow Intel to do just that more effectively with less leakage and more control over power consumption and performance.