How the chips fell in 2022 – a year in the computer hardware industry  - G2 Digital
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How the chips fell in 2022 – a year in the computer hardware industry 

If you’d asked anyone connected to the computer hardware industry at the end of last year for a wish list for 2022 most, it’s safe to assume, would have asked for a return to normality.  

The year started on a downbeat note, amid warnings that the global chip shortage – a legacy of the first Covid lockdown in 2020 – was likely to continue into 2023.  

Intel’s chief financial officer, George Davis said soaring demand meant the company was struggling to obtain the materials, specifically the substrate to manufacture the chips.  

The group said demand was expected to grow, with supply shortages continuing for the next several quarters, but it reassured customers that it wouldn’t raise prices.  

There was more positive news from AMD, that its Ryzen 5000 series was due for a refresh, with hints also being dropped that the chipmaker would be refreshing its Zen 3 processors in early 2022.  

It was suggested new processors would make use of AMD’s newest 3D chiplet technology, increasing the amount of V-Cache on the chip.  

As if that was not enough to be getting on with, Robert Hallock, director of technical marketing, suggested Ryzen processors could shift to another platform later in the year, supporting PCIe 5.0, DDR5 memory and compatible with existing AM4 CPU coolers. 

By springtime, Intel was also in more upbeat mood, with the release of its latest GPU innovation, the Intel Arc Alchemist. 

It was the first time in more than a decade since the company had produced a desktop graphics card, and it dropped bullish hints that it would be cheaper than equivalent NVIDIA or AMD cards. Intel boasted that it planned to sell more than 4million ARC Alchemists in 2022, putting the other two industry giants on the back foot. 

Nvidia, meanwhile, was heavily focused on ensuring enough manufacturing capacity for its next generation of GPUs, spending £7.3billion on production of chips for new “Lovelace” products.  

The company promised a considerable hike in production and stock levels to ensure the RTX 4000 series – which dropped from 8nm to 5nm with Ampere GPUs – weren’t thin on the ground. AMD was preparing its RDNA 3 GPUs to face off against RTX 4000.  

Early summer saw the launch of what Intel claimed was the world’s fastest desktop processor – the new i9 12900KS. 

A boosted version of the 12900K, it raised boost frequency from 5.2 GHz to 5.5GHz, with 16 cores split between performance and efficiency. Additionally with 24 threads, 30MB of L3 cache memory the new Intel processor clocks speeds of 5.5GHz compared to the latest AMD CPU clocking at 4.5GHz.  

Despite a big price difference with equivalent products – the i9 retailed at £749 against £415 for the comparable Ryzen 7 5800X3 – demand was high and, at G2, we hatched plans to offer the chip in our 2U rackmount machine. 

Keen not to miss out, word was leaked that AMD’s first DDR5 platform would be able to reach, ‘speeds that you maybe thought couldn’t be possible’.  

Changes to PC RAM happen rarely, and DDR4 had been around for eight years. One of the biggest differences between DDR4 and DDR5 is the capacity. Top DDR4 models max out at 128GB over four DIMM slots, whereas DDR5 can quadruple this to a staggering 512GB. 

The highlight of the autumn was the general release of the Ryzen Threadripper PRO 5000 WX series which, until then had has only been available as part of pre-built “big brand” desktop PCs, including the Dell Precision 7865 workstation and the Lenovo Thinkstation P620. 

From the end of August, the processors were sold separately, allowing smaller OEMs like G2 to integrate them into new and existing workstations. The same month saw the launch of Nvidia’s new RTX 40 series of graphics cards. 

Among the changes at G2 Digital in 2022 was a move into new, custom-designed premises at Blacknest Industrial Estate, in Alton. 

It also saw the launch of a second 4U machine to complement our extensive range of products. Our incredibly powerful 4U rackmount PC is a beast of a machine, amped to take creativity to new heights.  

Designed to support high-end graphics (GFX) cards such as the NVIDIA RTX A6000 as well as the NVIDIA 4000 Series cards.  

We can now accommodate more dual-width GFX cards in a single unit than any of our other machines and harness some exemplary features to bring a world of new options to our portfolio.  

End of year highlights included AMD finally unveiling its 4th Gen EPYC processors at an event in San Francisco.  

With up to 96 cores in a single processor, the new line-up – which also includes the Compute Density-Optimized Zen 4C for EPYC Bergamo, and the Cache-Optimized Zen 4 V-Cache within the EPYC Genoa-X series – has been created for critical workloads across cloud, enterprise, and high-performance computing (HPC). 

We can be thankful that a sense of normality has returned to the industry following the upheavals of the pandemic and there were some outstanding developments over the past 12 months. Here’s hoping the industry continues on the same upward curve into 2023. 

Get in touch for more information on any of these products which are available in G2 Digital rack mounted systems. Our experts can work directly with you to design and build a bespoke or tailored solution. Contact our team on +44(0) 333 880 4242 or drop us an email.