Rumor: Intel Intentionally Holding Back 10nm
Subject: Processors | December 3, 2017 - 03:16 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Intel, Cannonlake, 10nm
According to Fudzilla’s unnamed, “well-placed” sources, Intel could have already launched a 10nm CPU, but they are waiting until yields get better. This comment can be parsed in multiple ways. If they mean that “yeah, we could have a 10nm part out, but not covering our entire product stack and our yields would be so bad that we’d have shortages for several months” then, well, yeah. That is a bit of a “duh” comment. Intel can technically make a 10nm product if you don’t care about yields, supply, and intended TDP.
If, however, the comment means something along the lines of “we currently have a worst-case yield of 85%, but we’re waiting until we cross 90%” then… I doubt it’s true (or, at least, it’s not a whole truth). Coffee Lake is technically (if you count Broadwell) their fourth named 14nm architecture. I would expect that Intel’s yields would need to be less-than-mediocre to delay 10nm for this long. Their reactions to AMD seems to be a knee-jerk “add cores” with a little “we’re still the best single-threaded tech” on the side. Also, they are looking like they have fallen behind the other fabs, which mostly ship 10nm in mobile.
I doubt Intel would let all that stigma propagate just to get a few extra percent yield at launch.
Of course, I could be wrong. It just seems like the “we’re waiting for better yields” argument is a little more severe than the post is letting on. They would have pushed out a product by now if it was viable-but-suboptimal, right? That would have been the lesser of two evils, right?