Intel’s endless 10nm nightmare cost him so much.
It all started on September 5, 2014. This is the day when Intel presented 5th generation Core M chips based on “Broadwell” the company’s first processors built using the 14 nanometer manufacturing process. Despite some manufacturing problems pushed Broadwell away Since its planned release in 2013, Intel’s offering has served as the forefront of processor technology. AMD got stuck on the 28nm process with its abysmal Bulldozer architecture. A month later, the Apple iPad Air 2 launched with a custom A8X chip that couldn’t quite hang with Intel’s old Haswell processors in Geekbench—but it was getting closer.
Almost six years later, things have changed. The 10th generation Intel Core processors remain on a (improved) 14nm process. AMD’s Ryzen chips have ripped off the computer crownand Apple is doing the unthinkable: moving Macs from x86 processors to its own custom Arm silicon. And if Apple’s theft of Nvidia GPUs after “Bumpgate” in 2009 is an indication, he will not return.
How did Intel get here? Let’s see how the business lost its way, starting with the death of the tick-tock.
The long road at 10nm
The death of Intel’s famous tick-tock manufacturing process served as a canary in the coal mine. For years, Intel’s processors have kept pace with the ticking, releasing upgraded processors with a manufacturing process smaller than a generation, then a new microarchitecture based on the smaller process the following year . TIC Tac; TIC Tac. The relentless innovation must have sounded like the clock of the day of the Last Judgment for the AMD then in rout.
The annoying 10nm process killed him. In early 2016, Intel confirmed that tick-tock was dead, adding a third step to the process called “optimization”. 7th generation Intel “Kaby Lake” processors have been reported as the first “optimization” architecture in 2017, another 14nm chip after the Broadwell and Skylake releases. Since Intel has yet to release 10nm desktop processors, it’s no surprise that neither tick-tock nor tick-tock-optimization have been mentioned since.
The disappearance of Tick-tock obviously delayed the arrival of 10 nm. Originally scheduled for launch in 2016, early this year Intel said that its first 10nm would be “Cannon Lake” in the second half of 2017, a shrinking of the optimized architecture of Kaby Lake. It would not be launch until mid-2018, and then only in a handful of low-end systems with integrated graphics disabled. Later that year, we said, “Cannon Lake is barely creaked in a reasonable volume.” The exit went so badly that when Intel previewed 10nm Sunny Cove cores to the press in December 2018, he also undertook to dissociate his architecture and intellectual property from the manufacturing process as much as possible to prevent such stands from happening again.
The 10nm issue occurs at 5.30pm in the video above.
Intel CEO Bob Swan blamed the delays on the mere ambition of Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference in mid-2019, citing the company’s history “defying the odds”. “At a time when it was becoming more and more difficult, we set ourselves an increasingly aggressive goal. From there, it took us longer … We prioritized performance at a time when predictability was really important, “he said. “The short story is that we have learned from it and that we will be pulling out our 10nm knot this year. Our 7nm node will be available in two years and it will be 2.0x scaling, so let’s go back to the historic Moore’s Law curve. “
These 10nm Sunny Cove cores have indeed hit laptops in the form of 10th generation Ice Lake processors in August 2019. Yes, 10 nm was finally really there, at least in the notebooks. Intel’s desktop offerings remain on the 14nm process. And even after the three-year delay, the 10nm processor cores come with lower clock speeds and did not impress much.
Our performance analysis said the real appeal of Ice Lake is its greatly improved graphic chops. “Our general conclusion is that the CPU is at the same level or a little faster than today’s laptops in most conventional applications which do not touch the special sauce of improved encryption, AI or encoding functionality, “we said. “In applications that affect these features, however, this is a major upgrade from the existing 14nm chips.” It is, however, revealing that Intel Comet Lake H “10th Generation” Game Processors continue to use the 14nm process and its higher clock speeds.
Intel hasn’t sat down for half a decade; it has refined the performance of its 14nm processors, introducing features such as AVX-512 instructions, Thunderbolt 3, Wi-Fi 6 and significantly improved integrated graphics.
Intel also pushes what is possible with 14 nm hard to follow the competitive landscape. While the 14nm Core i7-6700K debuted with four cores and 4.2 GHz Turbo speeds, the new 10 cores, 20 Core i9-10900K cores can reach up to 5.3 GHz under optimal conditions. This may be the reason why we have not yet seen 10nm processors reaching desktop computers. Intel has tuned the 14nm architectures so finely that it’s hard to imagine that the new 10nm is approaching the same raw speeds.
AMD on the rise
Intel’s 10nm difficulties have opened the door to its rivals.
After the disastrous Bulldozer, AMD responded with its new Ryzen processors, built using the most advanced processing nodes from TSMC. Ryzen debuted in 2017 as a 14nm loaded kernel monster who slaughtered Intel in multi-threaded tasks and overall value, but lagged behind game performance. Lower prices and significant improvements in the IPC helped 2nd generation Ryzen supplants Intel’s 8th generation Core i7 as the recommended flagship processor. Then, with Intel mired at 14 nm, AMD took the technological lead with 3rd generation Ryzen processors built using an advanced 7nm process with support for ultra-fast PCIe 4.0 storage. (The latest 10th generation Intel chips remain on PCIe 3.0.)
“For probably 9 out of 10 consumers looking for a high-end processor, they will want to buy the Ryzen 9 3900X [over the Core i9-9900K]”, We said in our review. AMD then released the Ryzen 9 3950X 16 cores faster just to rub victory in the face of Intel. Discover our summary on how AMD’s Ryzen ripped Intel’s IT crown after 15 long years if you want to know more.
Ryzen processors dominate our list of the best processors and AMD takes full advantage of them. The company has gained market share for 10 consecutive quarters, reaching almost 20 percent of the total office pie for the first time since 2013. Ryzen desktop processors represented 86% of sales at Mindfactory focused on enthusiasts from Germany last February, and they stayed at the top Amazon’s Best Selling CPU List for years now. “In the desktop business, global demand for our latest families of previous generation Ryzen 3000 and Ryzen 2000 processors was strong, both of which continue to be among the top retailers and account for more than 50% of sales from premium processors at many leading global retailers, “CEO Lisa Su tells investors in April.
Worse for Intel, Ryzen 4000 7nm mobile chips introduced in 2020 offers performance that all Intel systems, except high-end systems, simply cannot match. “To put the AMD Ryzen 4000 in perspective, you have to understand that in 50 years of AMD, it has never beaten Intel in laptops,” we said in our review. “… The AMD Ryzen 4000 can work with laptops that weigh two to three times more. It is frankly something that we did not expect. The Ryzen 4000 is without a doubt the most revolutionary laptop processor we have seen in years. “
Laptops remained a key stronghold for Intel, but AMD’s strikes. Laptops like the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14, Acer swift 3, and the Dell G5 15 SE offer exceptional performance at exceptional prices. AMD expects more than 100 laptops with Ryzen 4000 to be launched in 2020. It also plans to release next-generation Ryzen desktop processors later this year, further enhancing its technological advantage.
Read on to find out how Apple just hit Intel another fatal blow.