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Intel admits over-ambition led to delays in 10nm chip production but feels Moore's Law is not dead yet

Intel wanted a greater than 2x transistor density for 10nm. (Source: Computerworld)
Intel wanted a greater than 2x transistor density for 10nm. (Source: Computerworld)
Intel CEO Bob Swan admitted that the company was over-ambitious in its quest to have more transistor density in 10nm than Moore's Law actually postulates. This led to delays in 10nm production and ultimately, the company lagged behind competitors such as AMD and NVIDIA who have now moved on to newer fabrication processes by outsourcing chip production.

Intel's reason for lagging behind the competition when it came to 10nm CPUs (and consequently 7nm) was due to its over ambitious goals, according to CEO Bob Swan who made a public appearance for perhaps the first time at Fortune's Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colorado earlier this week. The ambitious goal was going after a 2.7x transistor density improvement over 14nm. Swan said,

[The delay was] somewhat a function of what we've been able to do in the past, which in essence was defying the odds. At a time when it was getting harder and harder, we set a more and more aggressive goal. From that, it just took us longer."

Swan took over Intel seven months after Brian Krzanich had to leave in 2018 as per the company's anti-fraternization policy after he was found to be involved in a consensual relationship with a subordinate. While Intel is still the leading supplier of CPUs for servers and PCs, its competitors such as AMD and NVIDIA have seen great success in outsourcing chip manufacturing to companies such as TSMC. 

However, Swan is still optimistic. He said, 

The short story is we learned from it. The next generation of manufacturing improvements will be ready in about two years. Intel is internally emphasizing greater sharing of information between units. The goal is to pull entire company together through more truth and transparency and the free flow of information."

So essentially, Intel is sticking to its original plans of offering 7nm in 2021. The company might have not been able to keep up with Moore's Law, but Swan feels that the law is still applicable; just that it needs some changes to suit Intel's current situation. 

Intel CPU roadmap showing 7nm availability by 2021. (Source: Hard Forums)
Intel CPU roadmap showing 7nm availability by 2021. (Source: Hard Forums)

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 07 > Intel admits over-ambition led to delays in 10nm chip production but feels Moore's Law is not dead yet
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2019-07-21 (Update: 2019-07-21)
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
I am a cell and molecular biologist and computers have been an integral part of my life ever since I laid my hands on my first PC which was based on an Intel Celeron 266 MHz processor, 16 MB RAM and a modest 2 GB hard disk. Since then, I’ve seen my passion for technology evolve with the times. From traditional floppy based storage and running DOS commands for every other task, to the connected cloud and shared social experiences we take for granted today, I consider myself fortunate to have witnessed a sea change in the technology landscape. I honestly feel that the best is yet to come, when things like AI and cloud computing mature further. When I am not out finding the next big cure for cancer, I read and write about a lot of technology related stuff or go about ripping and re-assembling PCs and laptops.