Intel still has massive problems with the 10nm process. Internal sources now claim that the chip manufacturer is skipping 10nm in favor of 7nm.
10nm: is Intel digging its own grave?
The processor manufacturer Intel is not experiencing a heavy crisis at the moment, but still faces a big problem. The 10nm production process announced for years is simply not ready for the market. According to the first plan, the first processors with a 10nm structure width should be on the market as early as 2015. This year Intel rescheduled the 10nm production to the year 2019. The 10nm process, which is to be used in all Intel product lines, has simply been too complicated. According to the latest information, the first products should be ready for the holiday season 2019. However, these might only be notebook processors.
What is problematic here is what advantage the competition can gain through this. AMD plans to launch the first graphics card with a 7nm structure width in 2018, while the first Epyc processors with Zen 2, which is also manufactured in 7nm, will be launched on the market in 2019. The customer market will also soon benefit from the smaller production technology thanks to Ryzen 3000. In 2019, TSMC is expected to release more than 100 chips in total, which will be manufactured using 7nm. Samsung has also already started 7nm production. Intel, on the other hand, will remain at 14nm because its own 10nm process is simply not ready for mass production. A leak respectively an analysis of SemiAccurate now shows that Intel rejects 10nm completely.
Not 10nm, but 7nm
According to author Charlie Demerjian, Intel could now consider a completely different step. Already some time ago the analyst has assumed that the processor manufacturer can neither technically nor financially handle the 10nm process. According to his own sources, Intel has now understood this and drops the 10nm production entirely. The manufacturer could switch directly to 7nm products, for which there is no infrastructure yet. Possibly Intel buys these capacities. The manufacturer Globalfoundries, originally founded by AMD, is currently for sale and already owns a finished 7nm process and EUV systems. However, the foundry lacked larger customers, which is why they dropped 7nm so far and now wanted to concentrate on more special processes.
The rumour will probably show in the next few days how much it is true. On the 25th of October Intel will announce its sales figures, at which the manufacturer could also announce such news. Since also the pressure of the shareholders increases, Intel can hardly afford not to make a statement about the current production and 10nm. However, it should also be noted that Charlie Demerjian as a source in the past has also often spread errors and false reports. Time will tell how things will continue with Intel and 10nm.
Update on 10/22/2018, 18.07 CET+1
Intel denies the rumors that the 10nm production will be stopped. The company writes on Twitter that they are still on the schedule published by the company. They are making good progress in manufacturing.
Media reports published today that Intel is ending work on the 10nm process are untrue. We are making good progress on 10nm. Yields are improving consistent with the timeline we shared during our last earnings report.
— Intel News (@intelnews) 22. Oktober 2018