Intel's 14 nm Broadwell Chips are Bumped a Quarter Due to Defects
October 16, 2013 4:01 PM
comment(s) - last by
CEO says next generation 14 nm "tock" architecture refresh (Skylake) will not be delayed
Intel Corp. (
), which reported its earnings yesterday, gave investors an unwelcome surprise as well when it announced
its first 14 nm chip
, is being delayed by a quarter.
I. A Minor Slip
supposed to start shipping
chips to OEMs in Q4 2013 (this quarter) giving them time to integrate the chip into their new notebooks, laptops, desktops, and tablets. Instead the new chips will start shipping in Q1 2014.
Currently, Intel's premium
are produced on a 22 nm process. But moving from 22 nm node to 14 nm has proved trickier than Intel expected.
[Image Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech LLC]
Normally a die shrink involves years of prototyping technologies. When a production process is mature enough to come out the laboratory,
it's installed at the fab
. Equipment must often be updated or replaced to handle the new process once it's moved to a full-scale fab on its final path towards production. At that point tests runs are executed to study the efficacy of the fab hardware and methodology for the node, typically at lower volumes that the final production runs.
It is typical to find problems with the process at that stage, and it is up to the engineers to institute a set of process method and hardware changes to minimize those defects. When the fixes are in place, a semiconductor manufacturer crosses its fingers, metaphorically speaking and moves to volume production.
Intel currently owns 95 percent of the server market (
This approach typically works out for Intel, but this time something went wrong. The fix failed to minimize the number of wafer defects to the extent expect, and as a result a relatively high percentage of Intel's CPU were turning out dead on arrival.
Intel's new CEO Brian Krzanich
insists this is not uncommon stating, "We have confidence the problem is fixed because we have data it is fixed. This happens sometimes in development phases like this. That's why we moved it a quarter. We have a strong desire to get Broadwell to market. If I could, there'd be nothing slowing me down. This is a small blip in the schedule, and we'll continue on from here."
In Intel's internal jargon,
is a so-called "tick" release, which involves simply shrinking the previous processor architecture (
, in this case), while possibly adopting some minor tweaks/improvements based on lessons learned. By contrast, the next generation after
will be a new architecture, called a "tock". That "tock" release --
– will not be delayed, Mr. Krzanich stated, from its prospective 2015 ship date.
II. Intel Enjoys Healthy Process Lead, but Its Chips are Slower than Samsung's
The delay of
is a bit of bad news, but it could be much worse; the earnings report for Intel was otherwise better than expected. And while Intel has yet to establish a strong presence in the smartphone and tablet markets (unlike the server and traditional PC markets that it dominates), it is starting to attract interest in the mobile space, thanks in part to its process lead and the intrinsic power savings that lead provides.
Intel is producing 14 nm chips at three key fab facilities. [Image Source: Intel]
Despite the setback, that lead remains relatively large. International Business Machines, Inc. (
) in August soft
launched 22 nm Power8
architecture high-end server chips and licensable architecture. However, it's still working with partners to try to bring that chip to the market in physical form. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Comp., Ltd. (
28 nm process
-- a top third party manufacturer for ARM chips (the mobile industry's dominant architecture), has taped out 16 nm chips. It's attempting to jump directly from 28 nm to 16 nm.
16 nm is still a larger node than 14 nm, but TSMC didn't seem to have the same problems with its die shrink, opening the floodgates to production with
the release of design flows
for common chip types (including various ARM CPUs) last month.
On the other hand,
Atom Z3770 chip
faces stiff competition from
a 28 nm Samsung Electronics Comp.
, Ltd. (
) produced chip --
the A7 processor
Apple, Inc. (
) uses in its new iPhone 5S. The performance of the A7 shows that while process provides some advantages power and processing wise, those advantages may increasingly be unable to overcome the inherent architectural baggage that x86 brings to the table.
Apple's A7 managed to beat
chips, despite a slower clock and larger node size.
Samsung's process is 28nm LP (Gate-First high-κ metal gate (HKMG))
, while Intel's 22 nm process is Gate-Last HMKG. This is a huge win for Samsung as it means that it's producing a better chip on a cheaper mature process -- the best possible scenario. By contrast, Intel's still fresh 22 nm is not only slower -- it also costs Intel more to produce.
In other words, don't bet against Intel's ARM rivals, even if they're a bit behind on process technology.
CNET via Intel
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: end-user dates
10/16/2013 6:06:05 PM
If the chips will start to ship in Q1 2014, then give OEMs one more quarter to build inventories, finalize designs, and test, then yet another quarter to start building and shipping upgraded designs... Seems to me, Q3 2014 is when we should be expecting Broadwell to start showing up in retail systems. That puts it pretty much 1 year after Haswell entered retail.
RE: end-user dates
10/16/2013 7:27:00 PM
Yeah, about a year after Haswell was what I was expecting, so wondering if this meant a quarter delay from that.
By retail I mean retail processors for home-build desktops, but I assume they'll hold that until the integrators are ready.
RE: end-user dates
10/17/2013 2:15:59 PM
The way my tea leaves read, it's probably going to be more like a shift from start of Q3 to end of Q3, but basically by fall 2014 Broadwell should be shipping in new models. My gut says stand-alone retail CPUs probably won't be available until Q4 2014...
RE: end-user dates
10/19/2013 4:27:40 PM
As a matter of fact, there is such a disconnect between INTC & end users that innovations go under the radar. A typical example is section 2.6 of the Haswell datasheets vol 1 that was never clear about color depth at any resolution, despite many mentions of deep color in various documentations. Meanwhile, the Windows/Linux/Apple stock drivers did not offer a choice over 32bpp (8 bits per color & transparency), so even if the hardware is capable, none of the manufacturers know or tested. The public can't question design engineers directly and distributors can't find the info. Try support and ask them about 10bpc on Iris Graphics if you want to have fun ! The average consumer will probably just wait with the money in the bank, until the info is available and no 8K is updated with SEC to explain that.
You have a market inundated with 4k displays and the smartphones getting there, so with the 8k emergence, I hope Westlake graphics allows 4320p at the minimum 10bpc mandated by BT.2020 a while back... Not ready to give up the x86 ecosystem and I am not color blind yet.
"If you mod me down, I will become more insightful than you can possibly imagine." -- Slashdot
Semiconductor Sector Heats up, Boosting Samsung to Record Profits
October 7, 2013, 11:00 AM
IDF 2013: Tablet-Aimed Bay Trail, 140+ Android and Win 8.1 Designs Announced
September 12, 2013, 7:06 PM
Apple Announces $99 iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S with 64-bit A7 Processor and "Touch ID"
September 10, 2013, 1:15 PM
Intel Targets Low-Power Server Market With 14nm Broadwell SoCs in 2014
July 23, 2013, 2:10 PM
Samsung Unleashes 28 nm Octacore Chip for Smartphones, Tablets
July 23, 2013, 11:19 AM
Samsung Adds 2 TB 850 EVO, PRO SSDs for $800, $1000
July 7, 2015, 4:23 PM
Seagate Senior Researcher: Heat Can Kill Data on Stored SSDs
May 13, 2015, 2:49 PM
How to Recover Most Apps After Your NVIDIA Driver Crashes in Windows 10
March 30, 2015, 12:54 PM
Tinkerer Gets Old School Mac Plus Running on the Modern Web
March 24, 2015, 6:41 PM
Facebook-Backed Oculus Rift's Release Date Slips to 2016; Valve and HTC Salivate
March 16, 2015, 5:58 PM
Hackers Steal Roughly $1 Billion From Banks Using Malware RAT
February 17, 2015, 9:30 AM
Most Popular Articles
Worth the Wait? Microsoft Teases at Windows 10 Flagship Phones to Air Oct. 6
September 15, 2015, 5:13 PM
Apple's First Fixes to iOS 9 Land w/ iOS 9.0.1 Release
September 23, 2015, 6:11 PM
Breaking Bad: How to Crash Google's Chrome Browser With Just 8 Characters
September 23, 2015, 11:08 AM
Apple Watch Commands 2 in 3 Smart Watch Sales, WatchOS 2 Sweetens the Pitch
September 20, 2015, 6:07 PM
Fakebook Pt. I: From "The Chive" to "AskMen"; How Facebook's Phonies are Born and Used
September 15, 2015, 4:00 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information