Intel Coffee Lake series may be 14 nm with hexa-core options for notebooks
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Intel is one of the largest semiconductor manufacturers and is the main supplier of PC processors. AMD has been trailing since the Pentium 4 days due in part to an inferior manufacturing process in addition to its weaker marketing push.
The Intel manufacturing advantage has been slowly dwindling since the Broadwell series as the move from 22 nm to 14 nm took longer than originally planned and caused launch delays for system manufacturers. Skylake continues to be a 14 nm series and the 10 nm generation is not expected to come until the Cannonlake series in mid 2017 at the earlest. The delays have even forced Intel to drop its traditional "tick-tock" development cycle for a three-phase "process-architecture-optimization" model, effectively slowing Intel's long term manufacturing plans. Skylake will be refreshed this year with another series of 14 nm processors called Kaby Lake.
Intel's problems will likely grow larger as the manufacturing process continues to shrink. According to a newly leaked roadmap, Intel may delay its 10 nm Cannonlake yet again with another 14 nm series to follow Kaby Lake in 2018. Called Coffee Lake, this series will focus on mainstream notebooks with both U-class (15 W - 25 W TDP) SKUs and HQ-class (35 W - 45 W TDP) SKUs.
If proven true, Cannon Lake will likely launch late mid-to-late 2017 prior to Coffee Lake with a focus on tablets and ULV notebooks in the 4.5 W to 15 W TDP range.
Hexa-Core and ULV Quad-Core
The leaked roadmap reveals more details on Intel's near term plans. Traditionally, quad-core CPUs dominate the higher-end CPU categories while dual-core models have been reserved for mainstream notebooks and under. This may all change with the introduction of Kaby Lake as Intel may be preparing its first quad-core options in the 15 W - 25 W TDP range. Coffee Lake may even include the first hexa-core SKUs for notebooks with more powerful integrated GT3e GPUs as found on the Iris Pro Graphics series.
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