Not Cool: Intel Dashes Plans for Data Center Cooling Research ‘Mega Lab’

Intel looks to cut $3 billion in spending in 2023. The firm just found $700 million of that number by canceling their state-of-the art mega lab in Oregon.

Data Center Knowledge

January 25, 2023

2 Min Read
An architectural rendering of the Oregon Research and Design Mega Lab in Hillsboro, Oregon. Intel planned to open the data center lab this year.
An architectural rendering of the Oregon Research and Design Mega Lab in Hillsboro, Oregon. Intel planned to open the data center lab this year.Intel Corporation

Data center chipmaker Intel canceled plans to build its Oregon Research and Design Mega Lab, a 200,000-square-foot facility designed to test data center cooling innovations, according to reporting by OregonLive

We’re seeing several data center operators pull back from stated plans for data center developments. Facebook kicked things off with stalling or canceling data center builds in Europe. Google then ‘indefinitely postponed’ its data center development in Minnesota. Facebook’s reasoning for their pullback on data center builds: reevaluating in light of the emergence of AI. Google says they didn’t actually announce the data center build but were only considering it. For Intel, the cancelation is due to an exploration of more cost-effective real estate options.  

This data center cancelation indicates another roadblock in Intel’s quest to unseat AMD’s dominance in the data center chip space. Intel faced quite a setback when AMD launched the first x86 chip to run an AI engine, Ryzen AI. Also, AMD’s MI300 chip is positioned to be the chip of choice for hyperscalers looking for HPC-level AI processing power.  

Omdia analyst Manoj Sukumaran says, “While the Intel Data Center GPU Max Series is indeed a monster co-processor, I believe the AMD MI300 announcement outshined the GPU Max Series launch.” 

Related:Intel Launches Sapphire Rapids After 4 Delays – Is It Worth It?

Intel announced the $700 million state of the art R&D lab in May 2022. The firm positioned the mega lab as a sustainable data center technology solution center. It targeted all of the key challenge points data centers focus on with sustainability: cooling, heating, and water usage. 

Intel told OregonLive, “We are looking to reduce costs and increase efficiencies through multiple initiatives” and that they’re still conducting data center research, just not at the planned 200,000 square foot, state-of-the-art mega lab. 

The firm is looking to cut $3 billion in spending for 2023. The cancelation of the Oregon mega lab appears to be one in a string of many cost cutting activities for the chipmaker this year.

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