The transition from 22nm to 14nm isn't as smooth as Intel hoped
Intel this week told investors that the road to 14nm won't be without its bumps. Specifically, Intel has decided to delay its next generation processor architecture, codenamed Broadwell, until the first quarter of 2014, pushing the launch back by a quarter. Broadwell is based on a 14nm manufacturing process, which is quite a bit smaller than Haswell's 22nm process, and getting there has proven difficult.
Intel Chief Brian Krzanich said the chip maker ran into a "defect density issue" negatively impacting yields, CNET reports. When something like that happens, Intel issues a series of fixes, but in this case, the fixes initially didn't improve things to Intel's satisfaction. However, Intel is confident it's resolved any issues facing Broadwell, hence a relatively short delay to market.
"We have confidence the problem is fixed because we have data it is fixed," Krzanich said. "This happens sometimes in development phases like this. That's why we moved it a quarter."
By transitioning all the way down to 14nm, Broadwell should allow for even smaller and thinner mobile devices, like Ultrabooks and tablets. Not only is it physically smaller, but it also consumes less power to allow for longer battery life and less stringent cooling needs.
This delay, even though it's slight, comes at an unfortunate time as Intel gears up to do battle with ARM in mobile. At the same time, going down to 14nm puts Intel about a year ahead of the competition.