Tigerlake Is Intel’s Third Musketeer In 10nm Process Node Along With Icelake And Cannonlake

Intel CPU Wafer
Intel’s leadership in chip manufacturing technology has put the company on a steady tick-tock cadence when it comes to major processor releases. The company usually releases a new fabrication process with a “tick” and follows that up with “tock” microarchitecture improvements.

The first major hiccup in this strategy will rear its head this year with the introduction of Kaby Lake, a second “semi-tock” so to speak. Kaby Lake will soldier on on a 14nm process, making it the third major Intel processor architecture to do so (following Broadwell and Skylake). We’d also like to point out that Kaby Lake will only be supported by Microsoft when running the Windows 10 operating system.

It has now come to our attention that Intel will once again go with three major processor families manufactured on the same process node. In this case, however, Intel will reportedly settle in on the 10nm process node first with Cannonlake, which will launch during the second half of 2017. Cannonlake will be followed by Icelake one year later in H2 2018. The final product family built on the 10nm process node will be Tigerlake, which is reportedly earmarked for a H2 2019 debut.

Roadmap Intel 10nm
Intel's 10nm roadmap my need some updating...

Intel’s new three and done strategy means that we won’t see its first 7nm processors chip until the second half of 2020. Although no one knows for sure if Intel’s move to three products per process node is here to stay, The Motley Fool’s sources seem to indicate that Intel is adamant about getting back to it regular tick-tock cadence. If this information is correct, we should see Intel’s first 5nm processors in the latter half of 2022. But we still have to take into account that H2 2022 is over six years away and anything could happen between now and then.

So what does this all mean for Intel? Well, investors seem to be more than a bit worried that Intel is perhaps losing its commanding lead in process technology that it once wielded over its competitors with an iron fist. Intel is likely to face the stiffest competition from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC), which is steadily marching on with process breakthroughs of its own. TSMC is on track to begin mass production of its 10nm process node in Q4 2016, and if all the stars align, it’ll be sitting on the 7nm node during the first half of 2018.

And we can’t forget about Samsung, which is making inroads of its own in the semiconductor manufacturing space.