Intel’s Blockscale 1000-Series Chips Reach End of Life
Just one year after Intel unveiled its Blockscale ASICs for Bitcoin mining, the company announced the end of life for the first-generation Blockscale 1000-series chips without revealing any successors. Intel’s decision stems from a greater focus on IDM 2.0 operations. Despite no immediate plans for next-gen products, Intel’s statements suggest it remains open to future market opportunities.
IDM 2.0 Prioritization and the Future of Intel’s Bitcoin ASIC Business
Intel has been tightening its belt recently, exiting several businesses and streamlining its focus on IDM 2.0 operations. When questioned about the possibility of altogether leaving the Bitcoin ASIC industry, Intel stated that they are “continuing to monitor market opportunities.” The company’s initial entry into the Bitcoin-mining market coincided with a downturn in Bitcoin valuations, while their exit comes when the cryptocurrency is regaining traction.
Restructuring of AXG Graphics Unit and Custom Compute Group
Intel initially created a Custom Compute Group within the AXG graphics unit to support its Bitcoin ASICs and other emerging technologies. However, following a restructuring of the AXG group and the departure of then-graphics-chief Raja Koduri, the fate of the Custom Compute Group remains to be determined, with no current organizational changes announced.
Intel’s Blockscale ASICs: Competitive Performance and Stability
Initially revealed under the “Bonanza Mine” codename, Intel’s Bitcoin-mining chips gained attention for their competitive performance compared to rival products. Blockscale’s value proposition was further strengthened by the stability of Intel’s chip fabrication resources. Several sizeable industrial mining companies secured long-term deals for a steady supply of Blockscale ASICs, avoiding volatility and supply issues prevalent with China-based manufacturers.
Intel’s Commitment to Existing Blockscale Customers and Supply Timeline
Despite discontinuing the Blockscale 1000-series chips, Intel assures that it will continue to support its existing customers, fulfilling long-term contracts. Customers have until October 2023 to place new orders, with shipments ending in April 2024. In the meantime, Intel has removed most Blockscale-related content from its website.
Recent Cost-Cutting Measures and Business Divestments
Intel’s decision to end the Blockscale ASIC line is part of a broader cost-cutting strategy. The company has sold off its server-building and SSD storage businesses, terminated its networking switch and 5G modem operations, scaled-down Optane Memory production, and exited the drone market. Several projects and plans have also been shelved or delayed, including a mega-lab in Oregon, a development center in Haifa, and various data center graphics products.
The Road Ahead: Intel’s Business Strategy and Market Focus
While it remains unclear whether Intel will make further cuts to its diverse business portfolio, the company is undoubtedly working to streamline operations and hone its core competencies amidst challenging market conditions and fierce competition. With the end of the Blockscale 1000-series chips, Intel is concentrating on its IDM 2.0 priorities and looking for potential opportunities in the ever-changing world of technology.
- Intel Corporation. (2021). Intel Official News and Information. Retrieved from https://newsroom.intel.com/
- Moorhead, P. (2021). Intel’s New IDM 2.0 Strategy: CEO Pat Gelsinger Leads The Charge. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/patrickmoorhead/2021/03/24/intels-new-idm-20-strategy-ceo-pat-gelsinger-leads-the-charge/
- Alcorn, P. (2023). Intel Discontinues Bitcoin Mining Blockscale Chips. Tom’s Hardware. Retrieved from https://www.tomshardware.com/news/intel-discontinues-bitcoin-mining-blockscale-chips-no-future-gens-announced