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Intel refutes rumors of eliminating 10nm from the desktop, but don't expect anything till 2022

Intel's 10nm plans on the desktop are still some time away from fruition. (Source: ExtremeTech)
Intel's 10nm plans on the desktop are still some time away from fruition. (Source: ExtremeTech)
Fresh rumors have surfaced indicating that Intel would scrap 10nm on the desktop altogether and instead, directly launch 7nm Meteor Lake chips sometime in 2022 as 10nm has not yet reached the high clocks and yields required for desktops. However, Intel has refuted these rumors and clarified that 'great progress' is being made on 10nm that also includes desktop products.

News about Intel's struggles with 10nm isn't exactly new, but rumors have started coming in that Intel is looking to scrap plans of any 10nm chips for the desktop. This was first reported by HardwareLuxx citing insider sources, who have had a fairly good record about CPU leaks in the past. 

We do know that the upcoming Comet Lake-S in 2019/20 and subsequently, Rocket Lake-S in 2021 will continue to be based on the 14nm Skylake architecture — essentially, seven years of the same fabrication process since Broadwell with incremental improvements. HardwareLuxx's source seemed to state that the expected 10nm Tiger Lake-S and Alder Lake will not make it to the desktop. Instead, Intel would directly debut the 7nm Meteor Lake in 2022 although laptop versions of Tiger Lake will be based on 10nm. Actually, this does make sense given that Intel is yet to attain high clocks on 10nm that is needed for desktops and also the fact that Intel is yet to achieve the required high yields on the new process. 

That being said, Intel has refuted the above information. In a not-so-detailed statement provided to Tom's Hardware, Intel said, 

We continue to make great progress on 10nm, and our current roadmap of 10nm products includes desktop."

Furthering the ambiguity, Intel again clarified that 'desktop products' here means 'desktop CPUs'. There was no clarity as to whether that meant any specific parts for NUC, HEDT, etc. We do know that Xeons based on Ice Lake are still in the offing for 2020, though.

In all likelihood, Intel could be referring to Alder Lake based on the Golden Cove architecture that is expected to land sometime in 2022. By then, we can expect to see a 10nm++ architecture that could possibly overcome some of the clock speed limitations found in current gen Ice Lake chips. Only time will tell how much of a yield increase will Intel be able to achieve by late 2021/22. 

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 10 > Intel refutes rumors of eliminating 10nm from the desktop, but don't expect anything till 2022
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2019-10-15 (Update: 2019-10-15)
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.