It seems that the jump to the miniaturization of the processors for the new generations is costing more than planned to companies like Intel and AMD. And, both Intel and AMD are looking to lower the 12 and 14 nanometers they currently use in their processors, but although the roadmap is there, they are not able to start up the mass production of the new processors.
And, focusing on Intel, the company has just shared its financial results for the first period of the year and has confirmed that the mass production of the first 10-nanometer processors will have to wait until 2019. Currently, the eighth generation processors, Coffee Tabletops and laptops are built using a 14 nm ++ architecture, an evolution of Broadwell, the architecture of 2014. Between 2011 and 2014, Intel managed to lower from 32 nm to 14 nm, but have not been able to Take the leap to a smaller unit.
The reason may have been the relaxation of AMD during these years and, therefore, the no need to take a step further in the architecture, dedicated to increasing the frequency and, in some cases, the number of cores, but without betting for a true revolution favored by the passage to a construction in 10 nanometers (or even less). Coffee Lake arrived last year when we also learned that Cannon Lake would appear at some point this year as the most efficient laptop processors.
Cannon Lake will be built in 10 nanometers, which will mean greater energy efficiency, but there are still few data that we have about these processors. The only thing we know is that the Intel Core i3-8121U included in one of the next Intel NUC units will be the first Cannon Lake architecture, although we do not have data on the number of cores or consumption.
In the financial results of Intel, you can see that the business of PCs and servers is going from strength to strength, growing by 25% over the previous period. That’s why Intel does not have to press for 10-nanometer processors. And, it seems that they are not entirely happy with the current performance of the processors in 10 nm and, due to that leadership position and the performance of the eighth generation processors, Intel has marked 2019 as the year of mass production of the 10-nanometer processors.
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The advantages of smaller processors
This year we have seen how different manufacturers talk about the benefits of smaller processors. Lowering the 14 nanometers of Intel or the 12 of the AMD Ryzen to 10 or 7 nanometers will be an advantage in terms of performance, but also in terms of energy efficiency. Taking the case of processors manufactured in 7 nm, as expected to be the next AMD processors for their graphics and CPU, performance will increase by 40% while consumption will decrease by 60%.
Something similar will happen, supposedly, with the heart of the iPhone 2018. And, the Apple A12 processor could be manufactured in 7 nanometers, which would make the new iPhone more powerful and consume less battery, increasing its autonomy. Of course, we do not know if Intel’s decision to delay mass production of 10-nanometer processors will affect Cannon Lake or Ice Lake. Ice Lake will be the next generation of Intel for desktops and, supposedly, will be manufactured in 10 nm +, an optimized process that will start from the 10 nanometers of Cannon Lake.
Who will download first of 10 nanometers, Intel or AMD? For lovers of circuits, that AMD returns to the fight with their Ryzen is good news.