Reports Of Intel 10nm Death Are Greatly Exaggerated
Earlier today, a report was making the rounds claiming that Intel had abruptly decided to kill its 10nm chip production. The possibility that Intel would mothball its 10nm line definitely caught a lot of attention because the company has admitted to delays in bring processors based on the manufacturing tech to market, and volume production wasn't expected to occur until the second half of 2019.
The original report that alleged that Intel 10nm tech is dead stemmed from Semi Accurate, which wrote:
Now we are hearing from trusted moles that the process is indeed dead and that is a good thing for Intel, if they had continued along their current path the disaster would have been untenable. Our moles are saying the deed has finally been done.
The publication went on to pen rather sharp criticism of Intel, writing, "The knifing of 10nm shows that Intel is finally willing to do the right things for the right reasons even if it costs them some short-term pain, it is the first adult decision we have seen from the company in several years."
Those are some rather damning claims about Intel's manufacturing prowess, and the company was forced to respond. Intel took to Twitter earlier today to issue the following statement:
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's statement lines up with comments that it has made recently about 10nm chip production. On September 28, Intel CFO and interim CEO Bob Swann stated in an open letter that, "We’re making progress with 10nm. Yields are improving and we continue to expect volume production in 2019."
Despite the claims by Semi Accurate, it doesn't appear that Intel's focus or plan to deliver 10nm chips in 2019 has changed. We also have to consider the fact Intel has devoted a considerable amount of resources to its 10nm production online, so it's unlikely that it would simply just give up this late in the game.
That's not to say that Intel has smooth sailing between now and the end of 2019 when the first next-generation chips are expected to roll off the production line. Last week, Intel announced plans to split its Manufacturing and Technology Group into three divisions: technology development, manufacturing and operations, and supply chain. It was also announced that Intel veteran Sohail Ahmed, who has served as SVP and GM of the Technology and Manufacturing group since 2016, is retiring in November. These moves are widely believed to be the messy result of the long-delayed transition from 14nm to smaller process nodes.
While Intel is trying to turn things around with its 10nm processor, rival AMD is clipping right along with its 7nm Zen 2-based processors and is expecting to announce the first products based on the process at CES 2019 in January.