In a very embarrassing turn of events, Intel has been forced to take a step backward and return to 22nm CPU manufacturing. The reported supply constraints of 14nm chips, combined with significant issues with chip yields at 10nm, has meant Intel has had to stage a historic about-turn to address CPU shortages.
10nm production is a well-documented disaster for Intel, who have suffered yield issues that have led to repeated delays. Lest we forget, Intel said back in January 2017 that 10nm Cannonlake chips were on target for a 2017 launch. Here we are, 20 months later, and Intel has said it hopes its first 10nm CPUs will launch in Q4 2019. This, combined with the tight supply of 14nm silicon, has forced the backward step.
Intel’s first step back to the 22nm process node will be the H310 chipset. This will allegedly be a low-end chipset designed for low-end 8th and 9th Gen Intel Core CPUs. The older processing node should make them nice and cheap, although at the expense of performance and efficiency.
The H310C chip measures 10mm x 7mm, compared to the previous H310 14nm spec of 8.5 x 6.5mm. This footprint is roughly 27% larger than Intel had originally intended. This 22nm chip will replace an older Intel 14nm CPU in a bit to alleviate supply shortages. While the number of Intel chips produced on the 22nm process could be small, it’s certainly not a good look and a further indicator that Intel is finding itself in a bit of a pickle.
For AMD, Intel’s stumbles represent a huge opportunity for growth. Analysts have already predicted AMD’s market share could triple as a result of Intel’s production issues. “Fubon’s report that Intel will undersupply the PC market between 4Q18 and 2Q19 leaves us with higher conviction that AMD will report improving revenue, pricing and margins near term, and that is positioned to take share in the high-end PC MPU and server market long term,” said market analyst Mark Lipacis.
AMD currently controls around a 10% share of the global CPU market, but this could climb as high a 30% by mid-2019. “Assuming our assessment of AMD’s transistor lead in 2019 is correct, and Intel’s supply constraints linger through mid-19, we think a market share of 70/30 is not out of the question,” continued Lipacis.
Worrying times for Intel then, who has been forced to take vital but negative steps in order to keep supplies stocked. Things could be set to get even hairier if AMD doesn’t suffer any major setbacks with the 7nm process, effectively leapfrogging Intel’s much delayed 10nm chips.