Intel 10nm Will See Limited 2017 Launch

/ 3 years ago


After leading the industry with their silicon process, Intel has started slipping up in recent years. Due to various delays, the 10nm process originally scheduled for 2016 obviously did not arrive on time. Even worse for the chip giant, some reports pointed to 10nm slipping past 2017 and into 2018. Luckily, it looks like we will be seeing 10nm soon. Unfortunately, Intel is making this launch in a much more limited scope than usual launches.

According to CEO Brian Krzanich, Intel is “on track to ship [their] first low-volume 10-nm part by the end of [2017]”. The first product on 10nm will be FPGA will are suitable for initial production due to lower quality control demands. The low-volume start will be followed up by an initial ramp-up in the first half 0f 2018. This also means that high volume and system availability will come only in second half 2018.

Intel 10nm Delay In-Line With PAO

Due to the late ramp up, Intel will only have 10nm CPUs in numbers for the second half of 2018. Coffee Lake will have a good part of the year until Cannon Lake arrives. Given the various slip-ups from Haswell onwards and the move to PAO, a delay in 10nm was basically inevitable. Unfortunately, it is worse than expected since 10nm is leading in with FPGA. It will have been 3 years since the last process node refresh by the time 10nm arrives. Given the 3-year PAO cycle, I suppose this counts as on-track in a sense.

With both Samsung/Global Foundries and TSMC moving to 10nm and 7nm in the meanwhile, Intel is fast losing their foundry lead. Unless Intel is able to lead the breakthrough past silicon, it looks like the various fabs will be converging at the end. Hopefully, the 10nm process will not suffer any further delays next year. With AMD resurgent with Zen CPUs and APUs, Intel needs every advantage it can muster.

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