Intel has finally put its 10nm chips into production after years of delays, but now the company has announced that it has encountered problems with its next 7nm manufacturing process that will cause delays for the next generation of chips as well.
As the manufacturer notes, "the company's 7nm CPU product timeline is moving about six months from previous expectations", delaying them from an initially expected arrival at the end of 2021. The six-month delay would push the date to at least 2022, if not later, due to what Intel CEO Bob Swan called a "defect" in the 7nm process.
Intel actually claims that the problems with its current 7nm production indicate that production is one year behind its internal roadmap. For some reason, however, the company claims that being one year behind will only result in the above six-month delay on the market. By comparison, AMD has already produced its Own Ryzen 4000 chips based on its 7nm architecture for months, which will significantly outperform Intel.
However, there is also some positive news for Intel: the company is on track to release its 11th generation Tiger Lake chips (based on the third-generation 10nm processor) to replace the 10th generation Ice Lake for laptops by the end of the year, bringing with them the much-awaited integrated Xe graphics. Intel also plans to launch its first products from its 12th-generation Alder Lake line (Tiger Lake's successor) later this year, including the first long-awaited 10nm desktop CPUs.
Positive results for Intel's financial side
Intel's actual financial results for the second quarter were also positive: Intel's Client Computing Group (which makes laptop and desktop processors) reported a 7 percent year-over-year improvement to $ 9.50 billion in revenue. Intel notes that these positive results have been driven by increased laptop sales due to a surge in customers working and learning from home due to COVID-19 (although for the same reason, it says desktop demand has decreased). Intel's second-quarter revenue also increased 20 percent year-on-year to $ 19.7 billion, helped in large part by substantial growth in the data center and memory solutions divisions.
However, the delay in reaching chips at 7nm is a looming problem for the company. If Intel's history of extending its architecture to 14nm for generations of incremental refinements is established, expect to see many more 10nm products released in the coming years.