Thursday, 13 Aug 2020

Intel is working very hard to re-produce the best CPU.


IntelIntel - Last week, Intel announced it would delay the 7nm process node at least six months. According to company CEO Bob Swan, the node is at least 12 months behind Intel's internal roadmap. In the short term, that means product delays and maybe some 10nm hardware that has been updated as a replacement for new 7nm equipment. In the long run, potential results range from "Intel regaining process leadership" to "Intel becoming an extraordinary company." Not much pressure there.

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Intel's current situation is historically unprecedented for giant CPU manufacturers. While Intel shipped a 10nm commercial silicon laptop in an initial volume of ~ 12 months ago, the company hasn't yet transitioned its desktop or server to a new node. The production volume of the Ice Lake server is expected to begin shipping by the end of 2020, with the first 10nm desktop CPU scheduled for H2 2021. It took Intel five years to switch from 14nm Broadwell to Ice Lake (cellphone), 5-5.5 years for Xeon depending on which model was first launched, and six years for desktops. Lake Rocket can provide new architecture at 14nm, but Lake Alder will be the first new node.

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While Intel's 14nm transition to tribulation has occupied the majority of column inches, they are not the only headwinds facing the company today. Two years ago, I wrote a story called "Intel is at a crossroads," discussing the company's manufacturing problems and the bets it makes in fields such as AI and 5G. Two years later, some of the bets failed or failed.

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Intel's 5G business became narrower after the company sold its IP modem to Apple. Upcoming Intel Movidius platform, Keem Bay, which reportedly offers much higher efficiency than competing parts of Nvidia, is thought to integrate Cortex-A53 CPUs than Intel x86 parts. In January, Intel announced it would end its investment in Nervana and move its product plans to IP made by rival Habana Labs.

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