Earlier this year Intel confirmed that it would delay mass production of 10nm CPUs to 2019 due to issues with yields, but did not elaborate on when in 2019 that would be. Late on Thursday Intel finally made a long-awaited clarification: the first systems powered by 10nm CPUs will hit store shelves in the second half of 2019. But there is a catch: 14nm products will still continue to play a big role next year.

Intel is set to start mass production of processors using its 10nm process technology in 2019, and while the company isn't explicitly saying when mass production will begin, it's sounding like that will be in the Q2/Q3 time frame. This being based off of what Intel is saying, which is that they expect to have PCs based on these chips to arrive during the 2019 holiday shopping season. Given the kind of lead-time required to get complete OEM systems on to store shelves, this would mean that mass production on chips needs to start 3 to 6 months sooner than that.

As for said finished systems, what's typically considered the holiday shopping season starts in October or early November. So systems based on Intel’s 10nm CPUs would finally be available in mass quantities starting in Q4 of 2019. Consequently, for more three quarters of next year Intel will continue to rely almost entirely on its products made using its various 14nm process technologies.

It remains to be seen how much time it will take Intel to ramp up production of its 10nm CPUs and when the volume crossover between 14nm and 10nm chips occurs. At present, Intel seems to be optimistic about what it has today and will have tomorrow — a variety of 14nm products. In fact, there is a lot of room for growth here: shipments of Intel’s Xeon Scalable processors accounted for a little less than 50% of Intel’s datacenter revenue in the most recent quarter, so the company will certainly continue to ramp up shipments of these products for many quarters to come, increasing its ASPs and revenue. Keep in mind that Intel’s upcoming Cascade Lake-SP platform will bring support for 3D XPoint-based Optane DC Persistent Memory DIMMs, which will bring in huge earnings opportunities to the company.

Speaking of datacenter products. Murthy Renduchintala, Intel’s chief engineering officer, promised that 10nm “datacenter products” will follow “shortly after” availability of client systems running 10nm CPUs in the late 2019. He did not give any exact timeframes, but stressed that its next-gen Xeon will follow its next-gen client parts quicker usually. Essentially, Intel confirmed this week’s report claiming that the codenamed Ice Lake-SP CPUs may hit the market in Q3 or Q4 of 2020.

Note: Image of a wafer is for illustrative purposes only.

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Source: Intel

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  • danwat1234 - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    So, basically 2020 and mostly efficiency gains. Would take some luck to get more than 10% more IPC than Intel 6th gen Skylake.. AMD and Intel IPC will be very close.
  • ikjadoon - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    That’s the craziest part: this will still be Skylake IPC in late 2019 and early 2020.

    Clocks are good, but piling on 300MHz more to a 4.5GHz part isn’t much. And will we get a Broadwell repeat where the first CPUs on a node are absolutely atrocious on voltage/frequency?

    I was hoping these five years might be worth the wait—I’m very excited about AMD getting serious into mobile. Maybe my next laptop will be Zen-based!
  • Santoval - Friday, August 10, 2018 - link

    "And will we get a Broadwell repeat where the first CPUs on a node are absolutely atrocious on voltage/frequency?"
    This is what was almost going to happen with 10nm and Cannon Lake, which is why Intel is effectively skipping both (barring.. rare 2-core samples with a disabled iGPU) and moving straight to 10nm+ and Ice Lake in late 2019. ASML helped them fix the issues they faced with 10nm but apparently they implemented the fixes in their second-gen 10nm+.
  • caqde - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    AMD should have better than Skylake IPC in 2019. In 2020 AMD will have a larger IPC lead with their Zen 3 chips. Currently AMD IPC is almost on par with Intel's. With AMD have between 15 slower to 8 faster than Intel in IPC depending on the task. Worst case is things like Handbrake. Zen 2 could certainly fix this to either be on par or faster if AMD focuses on their weaknesses. Most IPC improvements I have seen with improved Architectures have been dramatic in a few cases and 7-12% most other places and nothing to maybe 3% in the rest. I expect no different with Zen 2, but Zen 2 should have slightly better than Skylake IPC.

    The only website I've seen that did a Pinnacle ridge vs Coffeelake IPC shootout. So judge for yourself is Zen already at Skylake IPC levels? Personally based on what I have seen I think it effectively is.
  • zodiacfml - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    Wow, more delays after another. They seem to prefer to pocket more cash than pushing technology.
    This is short term benefit.
    Intentionally creating an Intel Pentium4 scenario?
  • Duncan Macdonald - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    Intel thought that they could do 10nm without EUV and did not order the EUV machinery. With the long delays on the EUV kit (as the maker AMSL has a lot of orders), Intel will not have production EUV kit until well after its competitors. Expect the first 10nm products from Intel to be in small quantities until they have acquired the EUV equipment.
  • Amandtec - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    Ah - finally a proper explanation.
  • Death666Angel - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    Huh? Can you explain what you mean? No first gen 7nm node from the competitors will have EUV, as far as I know.
  • Duncan Macdonald - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    TSMC 7nm 2nd gen which does use EUV for some layers is scheduled for mid-2019 in volume production. GlobalFoundaries 2nd gen (again with some EUV) is expected in 2019.
    Doing 10nm or 7nm without EUV requires multi-patterning with as many as 4 exposures per step (vs 1 for EUV) which reduces yield and increases production time and complexity in the design process.
    Full EUV (no multipatterning needed) is expected in 2020/2021
    The first gen 7nm from both TSMC and GlobalFoundaries does not use EUV
  • DanNeely - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    What's the typical timespan from "we finally got it working right at the R&D scale" to volume production of parts? I know from reading elsewhere that a fresh attempt at the R&D scale takes a few months to get going to the point that they can tell if it's actually fixed the blocking problems or not. So I'm wondering if this is just another round of "we hope we'll have 10nm unfubarred soon enough to hit that deadline" or volume production a year from now means that their current attempt has finally gotten it to work reliably.

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