Moore’s Law slows and so does chip­maker In­tel

Tech Advisor - - NEWS -

In­tel an­nounces it will add a third 14nm mi­cro­pro­ces­sor, Kaby Lake, to its roadmap

In­tel has an­nounced that it will add a third 14nm mi­cro­pro­ces­sor, Kaby Lake, to its roadmap, dis­rupt­ing the steady tick-tock pace of the PC mar­ket as Moore’s Law slows.

For In­tel and the PC in­dus­try, adding Kaby Lake to the roadmap is a bomb­shell. Ev­ery two years like clockwork, In­tel has re­leased two prod­ucts: a ver­sion of an older chip on a more ad­vanced man­u­fac­tur­ing process, fol­lowed by a brand-new pro­ces­sor de­sign on the same man­u­fac­tur­ing node.

That ca­dence, which In­tel refers to as its “tick tock” man­u­fac­tur­ing strat­egy, was up­ended re­cently when In­tel said that it would add the Kaby Lake chip to fol­low the Sky­lake chip that In­tel will launch this fall. In­tel’s shift to the next-gen­er­a­tion 10nm process will now take place in the sec­ond half of 2017, roughly two-and-a-half years af­ter In­tel moved from the 14nm node.

To re­cap, then, In­tel’s roadmap looks as though this: In­tel launched the 14nm ‘Broad­well’ fifth-gen­er­a­tion Core chips ear­lier this year. In­tel’s six­th­gen­er­a­tion Core chip, ‘Sky­lake’, also a 14nm prod­uct, has been qual­i­fied as a prod­uct and will roll out this fall. ‘Kaby Lake’, another re­designed chip on the 14nm node, will ship in the sec­ond half of 2016. And In­tel ex­pects the first 10nm chip, ‘Cannon Lake’, to ship in the sec­ond half of 2017.

As Moore’s Law slows, so does the pace of PC de­mand: In­tel re­ported lower rev­enue and prof­its as the mar­ket waits to buy Win­dows 10 PCs, in­clud­ing the Sky­lake pro­ces­sor, and the PC mar­ket con­tin­ues to slow world­wide.

This mat­ters be­cause In­tel is of­ten viewed as the gold stan­dard of man­u­fac­tur­ing in the semi­con­duc­tor in­dus­try, so any slow­down will send rip­ples through its com­peti­tors. In­tel chief ex­ec­u­tive Brian Krzanich has en­joyed a man­u­fac­tur­ing tech­nol­ogy lead over his com­peti­tors. In­tel may have handed back some of that lead. It re­mains to be seen whether In­tel’s com­peti­tors will ad­just their man­u­fac­tur­ing timeta­bles, too.

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