Rumours point to problems with Intel's 10nm node

June 25, 2015 // 11:52 a.m.

Tags: #10nm #14nm #cannon-lake #gordon-moore #intel #kaby-lake #leak #moores-law #rumour #semiconductor #skylake

Intel is rumoured to have encountered further difficulties with the shrink to a 10nm process node, with leaked documentation appearing to show a new 14nm node - Kaby Lake - being launched where Cannon Lake should have been.

Intel runs a tick-tock development methodology, where it alternates between switching to a smaller process node and introducing a new microarchitecture. Each brings its own improvements, but the ever-shrinking process node is the most challenging: as component sizes get smaller, the laws of physics begin to get in the way. Back in 2013 Intel admitted that things were getting harder and that following Moore's Law - the observation turned commandment by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore that the number of transistors on a integrated circuit doubles roughly every eighteen months - was becoming a challenge and that the 14nm Broadwell parts were necessarily delayed.

Now documents claiming to be leaked from Intel suggest that the troubles of shifting to 14nm are rearing their heads again at 10nm. According to product listings released by Benchlife this week, Cannon Lake - the 10nm successor to 14nm Skylake - has been bumped in favour of a previously unannounced chip family dubbed Kaby Lake. While these parts would fit in the portion of the release cycle which should mean a process node shrink, they are claimed to instead be based on a 14nm process node - the first time Intel has deviated from its traditional tick-tock schedule, and a sign that the continued shrinkage of process nodes may be coming to an end.

Intel, as is to be expected, has refused to comment on the alleged leaks.
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