Intel has been having a pretty rough time recently, as AMD continues to step up the lead in the CPU gaming market. What once used to be the powerhouse of CPU technology and innovation has now seen many problems within development, and as such has had to delay it’s 7nm processor chips by another 6 months until late 2022 or early 2023. Not just that, but we won’t be seeing any 10nm chips until late 2021 either.
During the second quarter earnings call for Intel, CEO Bob Swan outlined the issues: “we are seeing an approximate six-month shift in our 7-nanometer based CPU product timing relative to prior expectations. The primary driver is the yield of our 7-nanometer process, which based on recent data, is now trending approximately 12 months behind our internal target. We have identified a defect mode in our 7-nanometer process that resulted in yield degradation.”
However, it seems like this might be the final deadline, as even though there was a problem with the hardware, Swan mentioned that there are “no fundamental roadblocks” that they can see anymore, “but we have also invested in contingency plans to hedge against further schedule uncertainty.”
But when asked about whether or not Intel would outsource their production to other manufacturers in case of any more problems and delays, Swan said “The extent that we need to use somebody else’s process technology and we call those contingency plans, we will be prepared to do that. And if we do, there’s lots of moving parts.”
This means that things have gotten so bad, Intel is being forced to consider the possibility of using a third-party to manufacture their chips for them, that’s pretty wild to think about for one of the biggest tech companies in the world.
But that’s not all, as Intel revealed their next generation of 10nm desktop processors will only be available by the end of next year, by which time AMD is planning to launch their own 5nm chips. Zen 2 is already on the 7nm process with Zen 3 coming up shortly on an enhanced 7nm node before Intel can even get a 10nm out the door.
“In the second half of 2021, Intel expects to deliver a new line of client CPU’s (code-named 'Alder Lake'), which will include its first 10nm-based desktop CPU, and a new 10nm-based server CPU (code-named 'Sapphire Rapids).”
This obviously hasn’t instilled a lot of confidence in Intel, both from customers and investors, but still the company is raking in billions of dollars every year so they’re not exactly going bankrupt. But next year’s final release of the 10nm processors will mark 6 years since Intel initially wanted to get 10nm on desktop chips, hopefully it will be worth the wait.
What do you think? Have you lost faith in Intel? How bad could this be for them? Or will they still remain as champions of the market? Let us know your thoughts!