After three years of delays, Intel plans 10nm chip shipments in June, 7nm in 2021

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in General Discussion
Intel intends to ship 10-nanometer processors in June, the company claimed during its investor meeting, with the further intention of shipping products made using a 7-nanometer process in 2021, something already being used commercially by chip producer rival TSMC for Apple-designed A-series chips.

A slide from Intel's 2019 investor meeting presentation for 10-nanometer chips
A slide from Intel's 2019 investor meeting presentation for 10-nanometer chips


The road to producing 10-nanometer processors has been filled with delays for the major processor manufacturer, which has largely kept to using its well-established 14-nanometer process for its launches rather than shifting to a smaller version. Since it attempted to put out a single 10-nanometer process in 2018, it has kept quiet about the delays, and at one point had to deny claims it had abandoned its fabrication process completely.

At the investor meeting, Intel claimed the "Ice Lake" 10-nanometer processors it teased in January will be shipping, starting in June. Ice Lake processors are tipped to provide double the video transcode speeds and graphical performance of previous versions, as well as three times faster wireless speeds and between 2.5 and 3 times faster AI performance.

The first volume shipments of 10-nanometer processors will be intended for mobile devices, like notebooks and tablets, with the first products using the chips tipped to arrive on the market in time for the holidays.

Intel also aims to launch multiple 10-nanometer chips throughout 2019 and 2020, including client and server chips, those under the Agilex family of FPGAs, the Nervana NNP-I AI inference processor, a "general-purpose GPU," and the "Snow Ridge" 5g-ready network system-on-chip.

There was also an update on the 7-nanometer process Intel is working on, a die shrink that is claimed to offer double the scaling and a 20-percent increase in performance-per-watt with a four-times reduction in "design rule complexity," namely making them easier to design.

Intel is hoping to use extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) in the foundry process, which it hopes will help drive scaling for multiple generation nodes. The main release under 7-nanometer will be an Intel Xe "architecture-based, general-purpose GPU" for use in high-performance computing and data center AI applications.

Intel anticipates the 7-nanometer general purpose GPU will launch in 2021.

Movement to update its chip foundry process may be of some comfort to companies like Apple, which are strongly considering the possibility of shifting its Mac product lines to use a self-designed processor instead of relying on Intel's offerings. The repeated delays in 10-nanometer chips have affected Apple's product plans on a few occasions, such as constantly delaying support for 32GB memory options in the MacBook Pro line until Apple simply gave up on waiting for a chip that supported LPTDDR4 and instead went for one that used DDR4.

The shift towards 10-nanometer and even 7-nanometer will also be of limited comfort to the company from the view of investors, who can see chip foundry TSMC actively using a 7-nanometer process to make Apple's A-series chips used in iOS devices, and is already planning 6-nanometer processes and smaller.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 31
    FatmanFatman Posts: 300member
    Intel caused Apple huge revenue losses and missed market share opportunities because they can’t get their act together, stringing Apple along for years with promises, and missed deadlines  - and these chips won’t be in shipping WIntel products until year end, Apple products in 2020, if ever.
    libertyforalltmayracerhomie3jkichline
  • Reply 2 of 31
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,929member
    The labels are confusing and can’t be taken at face value. What intel calls 10nm is most similar to what TSMC calls 7nm. What intel calls 7 is analogous to TSMC 5.

    so intel is behind by a year, not 3 years 
    bigtdsstompydewmeStrangeDaysxyzzy011st
  • Reply 3 of 31
    libertyforalllibertyforall Posts: 1,297member
    Intel sucks, it’s not a leader, it’s a slow follower...
  • Reply 4 of 31
    frantisekfrantisek Posts: 476member
    Yeah. Apple will finally have processors they designed cases for. So Mac fans will probably get what they were craving for...
    tmay
  • Reply 5 of 31
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 652member
    So 10nm in June and 7nm in 2021. It's very possible that could mean 10nm in December and 7nm in 2024.
    jdb8167edreddt17LordeHawk
  • Reply 6 of 31
    racerhomie3racerhomie3 Posts: 1,142member
    Sorry Intel ,too little too late. I hope you guys get enough money from servers & pro users, because  will leave you cold turkey in major flapship products from 2020. Sad ,that it has come to this, but I guess its inevitable since you guys overcharge for processors.  can make more affordable Macs by using their chip teams.
    dt17
  • Reply 7 of 31
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,929member
    DAalseth said:
    So 10nm in June and 7nm in 2021. It's very possible that could mean 10nm in December and 7nm in 2024.
    They have set a low bar for June so they will likely pass it — no big, high performance desktop or xeons. Those will stay 14nm for a while.
    DAalseth
  • Reply 8 of 31
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,968member
    After all Intel figured out 10nm and 7nm fab issues and now confidently shipping out 10nm in June. Outside of Intel what people don't know is Intel have capability to ship 7nm when ever wants to but why ? Intel can milk 14nm+++++ and 10nm for the year or two than so why ship 7nm sooner ? More on how many SKUs of 10nm released will known at the end of May at Computex.
    Because the initial release in 2019/20 for 10nm chips are for laptops only, I like to know when Apple is adopting and releasing Intel 10nm chip based Macbook/Air/Pro ? I believe like all other computer manufacturers, Apple is already testing for the release in Fall.
    edited May 9
  • Reply 9 of 31
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,635administrator
    blastdoor said:
    The labels are confusing and can’t be taken at face value. What intel calls 10nm is most similar to what TSMC calls 7nm. What intel calls 7 is analogous to TSMC 5.

    so intel is behind by a year, not 3 years 
    Given that they promised 10nm deliveries in 2016, yes, they are behind by three years.
    tmayracerhomie3jkichlineprismaticsdt17caladanianfastasleepLordeHawkjony0
  • Reply 10 of 31
    softekysofteky Posts: 132member
    frantisek said:
    Yeah. Apple will finally have processors they designed cases for. So Mac fans will probably get what they were craving for...
    It's the fan in the Macs that will get what they craved for :-)
    jkichline
  • Reply 11 of 31
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,158member
    Intel sucks, it’s not a leader, it’s a slow follower...
    People say that about Apple all the time right here in AI forums. Doesn’t make it true for either Intel or Apple.
    edited May 9
  • Reply 12 of 31
    viclauyycviclauyyc Posts: 352member
    Intel sucks, it’s not a leader, it’s a slow follower...
    So AMD cpu is better than Intel?
  • Reply 13 of 31
    ericthehalfbeeericthehalfbee Posts: 4,078member
    blastdoor said:
    The labels are confusing and can’t be taken at face value. What intel calls 10nm is most similar to what TSMC calls 7nm. What intel calls 7 is analogous to TSMC 5.

    so intel is behind by a year, not 3 years 
    Given that they promised 10nm deliveries in 2016, yes, they are behind by three years.

    I’d agree they are behind years given their previous promises.

    However, blastdoor is correct. When a company says they’re using a 10nm process it doesn’t mean the entire chip is 10nm. Only the smallest features are at 10nm while others can vary widely and be significantly larger. It’s like processor clock speeds - they can’t be directly compared to say one is better than another.

    Previous Intel processes were ahead of TSMC and Samsung (Intel 14nm was closer to Samsung/TSMC 10nm and significantly better than their 14/16nm processes).

    Whether this holds true with their upcoming “10nm” process is something we’ll have to wait and see.
    xyzzy01caladanian
  • Reply 14 of 31
    jdb8167jdb8167 Posts: 140member
    blastdoor said:
    The labels are confusing and can’t be taken at face value. What intel calls 10nm is most similar to what TSMC calls 7nm. What intel calls 7 is analogous to TSMC 5.

    so intel is behind by a year, not 3 years 
    Given that they promised 10nm deliveries in 2016, yes, they are behind by three years.

    I’d agree they are behind years given their previous promises.

    However, blastdoor is correct. When a company says they’re using a 10nm process it doesn’t mean the entire chip is 10nm. Only the smallest features are at 10nm while others can vary widely and be significantly larger. It’s like processor clock speeds - they can’t be directly compared to say one is better than another.

    Previous Intel processes were ahead of TSMC and Samsung (Intel 14nm was closer to Samsung/TSMC 10nm and significantly better than their 14/16nm processes).

    Whether this holds true with their upcoming “10nm” process is something we’ll have to wait and see.
    There is more to it than feature size though. TSMC has been producing 7nm A12 and A12x chips for 6 months with apparently very acceptable yields. Intel still doesn't have a 10 nm chip with useful yields. Their one Cannon Lake CPU has such bad yields that they can only ship it with the GPU turned off and it is really only theoretically available. As far as I can tell, you can only find it in one  laptop and one NUC and only as a slow, low-end i3. Basically, a reasonable person could categorize it as not really viable. 

    This leads to questioning whether yields for this year's 10 nm Ice Lake will be useful to a high volume seller like Apple. It doesn't matter if the stated feature size of 10 nm is equivalent to TSMC's 7 no if they can manufacture them in quantity.
    dt17frantisek
  • Reply 15 of 31
    Johan42Johan42 Posts: 163member
    blastdoor said:
    The labels are confusing and can’t be taken at face value. What intel calls 10nm is most similar to what TSMC calls 7nm. What intel calls 7 is analogous to TSMC 5.

    so intel is behind by a year, not 3 years 
    Yeah, the labels are crap because Intel’s 14nm is like TSMC’s 10nm, and Intel’s 10nm is like TSMC’s 7nm. So the one on track and not claiming fake bullshit labels for their transistors is Intel. And, once again, Intel’s performance remains on top, and their marketing stays true to what they make.
  • Reply 16 of 31
    Johan42Johan42 Posts: 163member
    Sorry Intel ,too little too late. I hope you guys get enough money from servers & pro users, because  will leave you cold turkey in major flapship products from 2020. Sad ,that it has come to this, but I guess its inevitable since you guys overcharge for processors.  can make more affordable Macs by using their chip teams.
    “Major flagship” products that have little to no impact on Intel’s bottom line. Gotta have more than 0.01% of the total computing world buying Macs to scare Intel into releasing on Apple’s deadlines.
  • Reply 17 of 31
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,360member
    Technical ability aside Intel has a very big management problem, I think the company is in asshole infested lockdown.
  • Reply 18 of 31
    libertyforalllibertyforall Posts: 1,297member
    blastdoor said:
    The labels are confusing and can’t be taken at face value. What intel calls 10nm is most similar to what TSMC calls 7nm. What intel calls 7 is analogous to TSMC 5.

    so intel is behind by a year, not 3 years 
    Provide your sources backing up this claim.
  • Reply 19 of 31
    jdb8167jdb8167 Posts: 140member
    blastdoor said:
    The labels are confusing and can’t be taken at face value. What intel calls 10nm is most similar to what TSMC calls 7nm. What intel calls 7 is analogous to TSMC 5.

    so intel is behind by a year, not 3 years 
    Provide your sources backing up this claim.
    Unfortunately it is probably too technically difficult to quantify. There are different pitch values for each process. One way to measure would be to have similar CPU layouts and measure the transistor density but trade secrets and proprietary designs make that unlikely. This is technical article but with a couple of good charts: https://wccftech.com/intel-losing-process-lead-analysis-7nm-2022/

    This is more up-to-date with 10nm

    https://en.wikichip.org/wiki/10_nm_lithography_process
    edited May 9 xyzzy011st
  • Reply 20 of 31
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,929member
    blastdoor said:
    The labels are confusing and can’t be taken at face value. What intel calls 10nm is most similar to what TSMC calls 7nm. What intel calls 7 is analogous to TSMC 5.

    so intel is behind by a year, not 3 years 
    Given that they promised 10nm deliveries in 2016, yes, they are behind by three years.
    I think it's pretty clear that I meant behind TSMC, not behind Intel's stated schedule. 

    TSMC started shipping their 7nm (analogue of Intel 10nm) last year. 
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