Intel to release Cooper Lake - Another 14nm based processor

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We've mentioned a couple of times that Intel is fighting the 10nm fabrication node. Intel used to adopt the so-called "Tick-Tock" model, but currently are looking at a 4th tock. Intel originally planned to enter mass production of its 10nm Cannon Lake processors back in 2016, but has been pushing back the schedule ever since. 

The company's latest update is that its 10nm chips will not be ready for commercial production until the fourth quarter of 2019, so let's round that up towards early 2020. That means that 10nm Cannon Lake desktop products will not be arriving until late 2019. Intel’s 10nm “Cannon Lake” in small volumes have spotted in early stages back in January 2017. However products based on the chip were slated to arrive by the end of 2017, that never happened. Intel instead pushed back its Cannon Lake rollout until 2018 due to manufacturing difficulties originating from the 10nm process. The delay on 10nm chips is not only limited to desktop and notebook computers, as it also applies to servers parts. It seems Intel is fighting yields in the 10nm process. 

Cooper Lake

New information, however, has now surfaced, we already mentioned that Intel is to introduce "Whiskey Lake" (aka Coffee Lake Refresh) later this year, on the desktop side of things.  On the server side of things, Cooper Lake now will be introduced (14nm) and it is a refresh of "Cascade Lake". So the server-side would look a little like this:  Cascade Lake (14nm) in 2018, Cooper Lake (14nm) in 2019 and Ice Lake (10nm) in 2020.

Realistically, the smaller the processor components, often the more problematic the manufacturing process becomes. We've seen that in the past, and it seems to apply to complex 10nm designs in their yields, e.g. producing a higher number of defective chips per wafer. Interestingly enough, 14, 12 and 7nm seem to be going strong. AMD is on track with 7nm for ZEN2. 

On the desktop side this year Intel will continue to focus on 14nm based processors of which the first generation was released in 2014. By the end of this year, Intel’s fifth and last generation 14nm technology based CPUs should be introduced, which are code-named Whiskey Lake.


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