Expect systems powered by Intel 10nm chips in shelves by holiday 2019
Intel has been having some tough times in transitioning to the 10nm process while the competition says it is ready for 7nm in 2019 itself. However, we might see 10nm at least by holiday 2019 according to an internal Intel presentation. That does not mean current 14nm is not going away anytime soon. In fact, Intel feels that 14nm will play an important role in 2019.
A holiday 2019 timeframe means that we should see mass production of 10nm begin sometime during end of Q1 2019 although, it was not explicitly mentioned in the presentation. Still, if Intel is hoping vendors stock PCs based on 10nm ships in time for the holidays, it better get production on track by Q2 2019 at least. Therefore, 14nm will continue to be a staple part of Intel's offering for the greater part of 2019. During the presentation, Murthy Renduchintala, Intel's Chief Engineering Officer said that 10nm datacenter products will follow shortly after the client systems. Well, they'd better hurry up as AMD's EPYC Rome server core is all set to transition to 7nm next year and is ready for sampling later this year.
Reports of Intel's tryst with 10nm have been appearing on and off in the media for quite some time now. Initially, the company planned to unveil the first 10nm 'Cannon Lake' chips by end of 2017 itself with broad availability by H2 2018 but that plan hasn't materialized with Intel quoting yield issues. Then CEO Brian Krzanich said that the delay was also due to Intel trying to increase transistor density by 2.7x instead of the conventional node-to-node increase of 2.0x. We then saw the arrival of the Intel Core i3-8121U — Intel's first 10nm Cannon Lake chip that powered the Lenovo IdeaPad 330-ICN but this was a limited part and probably not intended for mass production.
While Intel might have its own reasons for the delay in transitioning to 10nm, OEMs are reportedly having a tough time with no new CPUs to boast of for this year's holiday season. They'll have to make do with existing 14nm designs or produce more premium Ryzen-based offerings.