Intel Shoots Down Reports Of Additional 10nm CPU Roadmap Delays

Intel Engineer
Silicon Valley is full of drama and intrigue, and in this latest episode of the real thing (as opposed to the awesome HBO comedy series that recently aired its finale), Intel finds itself fending off reports of further 10-nanometer chip production delays. Looking to set the record straight, Intel says in no uncertain terms its 10nm Whitley platform "remains on track."

The rumored delay was reported by Charlie Demerjian at SemiAccurate, who wrote on December 11, "Looks like Intel just delayed a server part again." There was no context to the short article, though a day later, Demerjian wrote about Intel increasing the TDP of Whitley in June, calling the move "catastrophic for customers" because they would have to scramble to validate beefier cooling solutions and design new enclosures.

Later on in the report, Demerjian notes Intel told customers in a letter about changes it was making to its roadmap. Wells Fargo analyst Aaron Rakers followed suit by saying "Intel could face further delays of its 10nm Ice Lake Xeon Scalable processor," based on the aforementioned reports and "industry checks," according to Seeking Alpha.

So, what's really going on? If you ask Intel, as the folks at Tom's Hardware did, its 10nm plans are unchanged from the last update.

"Intel remains on track for delivery of the Whitley platform starting with production of Cooper Lake in H1 2020 followed by Ice Lake production in H2 2020. We are also on track to follow Whitley with the delivery of Sapphire Rapids in 2021," Intel said.

Intel's statement aligns with what the company told investors earlier this week at the USB Global TMT Conference. When asked about AMD having a process lead, Intel's Dr. Murty Renduchintala stated that the company's first 10nm server solution based on Ice Lake would arrive by the end of 2020. Dr. Renduchintala also stated Intel has an "aggressive roadmap" that the company feels "pretty good about to deal with the competitive landscape."

How this all plays out remains to be seen, naturally. Intel has certainly faced challenges in manufacturing 10nm silicon, and only recently began its first volume shipments of 10nm CPUs, those being its mobile Ice Lake chips. We're still waiting on desktop versions to come out, though I have it from on good authority that they are still coming (as opposed to skipping 10nm and going straight to 7nm, which is due out in 2021), and that they are "pretty cool ones" at that.

All we can do at this point is wait and see how it all plays out. Either the reports are accurate or Intel is telling the truth about all this stuff still being on track. Time will time which is correct.