Intel has denied reports that appeared in the media today claiming that it has cancelled work on its long-delayed 10nm fabrication process. In a tweet posted to its corporate @intelnews account today, the company stated: “Media reports published today that Intel is ending work on the 10nm process are untrue. We are making good progress on 10nm. Yields are improving consistent with the timeline we shared during our last earnings report.”
The story about the purported cancellation first appeared at SemiAccurate, which cited unnamed “moles” within Intel as its sources. The article describes Intel’s alleged move as “the first adult decision” that the company has made after repeatedly pushing back the launch of 10nm Cannonlake CPUs due to insufficient yields. SemiAccurate did not report any information about the Cannonlake product line specifically, just the manufacturing process, leaving open the possibility that Intel could have alternative 10nm process plans and product roadmaps in place.
Media reports published today that Intel is ending work on the 10nm process are untrue. We are making good progress on 10nm. Yields are improving consistent with the timeline we shared during our last earnings report.
— Intel News (@intelnews) October 22, 2018
Intel has repeatedly pushed back the rollout of 10nm chips based on ‘Cannonlake’, its first architecture manufactured using the 10nm process, which was originally scheduled for release in late 2016. The company first announced in mid-2015 that its long-running ‘Tick-Tock’ model of refreshing architectures and shrinking manufacturing processes every alternate year would be extended. It then introduced Kaby Lake, an intermediary ‘14nm+’ architecture, to fill the gap which was then supposed to last till 2017. The company has since inserted Kaby Lake Refresh, Coffee Lake, Amber Lake and Whiskey Lake processors into its roadmap, all manufactured using 14nm+ or 14nm++ processes, while Cannonlake has still not shipped in volume. The current timeline that Intel is referring to has wide availability of 10nm processors slated for the 2019 holiday season.
Only one 10nm Cannonlake CPU SKU, the Core i3-8121U, has so far shipped. It first appeared in one Lenovo Ideapad 330 Ultrabook sold in China, and later in a pair of Intel NUC mini-PCs codenamed ‘Crimson Canyon’, but has not been widely available. Meanwhile, sole competitor AMD has successfully adopted a 12nm process for its second-gen ‘Ryzen+’ CPUs and has stated that it expects to ship 7nm server CPUs in 2019.