After seeing Broadwell appear on a number of leaked roadmaps, Intel today finally provided some technical details about its 14nm manufacturing process and what the future holds. The first Broadwell chip to be based on the new microarchitecture will be Intel's Core M chip, which the company expects to power a broad range of products, everything from the infrastructure of cloud computing and devices that fall within the Internet of Things (IoT), to personal and mobile computing products.
Three families of 14nm Broadwell parts are headed for mobile devices
See that over there? It's Intel's 5th Generation Core processor family, otherwise known as Broadwell, coming around the bend. There will be will three different variants for mobile, including the Y Series, U Series, and H Series, all of which will be built on a 14nm manufacturing process. You can expect the parts to start appearing in the fourth quarter of 2014, but do you know the difference between each line?
Expect Intel's Broadwell release in time for the holiday shopping season
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has gone on record saying his company's next-generation Broadwell processors will definitely ship in time to be put in PCs for the holiday shopping season, however, they're not likely to be available for the back-to-school shopping rush that will take place in late summer. Broadwell is the codename for Intel's 14nm die shrink of its Haswell microarchitecture.
A Broadwell delay isn't what the PC industry needs
It was last October when Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said a "defect density issue" was negatively affecting yields, prompting the Santa Clara chip maker to delay its 14nm Broadwell launch by a quarter. Production was to begin in the first quarter of 2014, though there's a rumor going around that Intel might postpone Broadwell's big debut to the fourth quarter of this year. Is that really the case?
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.
We've seen some leaked roadmaps as of late, including one that has Intel's Ivy Bridge-E slated to ship in the third quarter of this year, followed by refreshed Haswell parts in 2014. What about Intel's 14nm Broadwell architecture, you ask? Broadwell is nowhere to be found on any of the slides, perhaps indicating that it won't come out until 2015 at the earliest. Maybe Intel's having problems shrinking the die to 14nm, or there just isn't enough competition to warrant releasing Broadwell in the near future.
It's taken Intel just three years to shrink its system-on-chip (SoC) process node from 32nm to 14nm (with a pitstop at 22nm along the way), and by 2014, it will be shipping 14nm chips in volume. Can anyone compete? Globalfoundries intends to give it an honest effort by aggressively accelerating its roadmap with a 14nm process of its own. The company's competing 14nm-XM (eXtreme Mobility) process will leverage 3D FinFET transistor technology for higher performance and better power efficiency in mobile devices.
Intel's 22nm processors, better known as Ivy Bridge, are fresh out of the fab and have given the Santa Clara's Core architecture a kick in the pants. But is the successor to Sandy Bridge and Sandy Bridge-E already old news? Not exactly, though a peek at Intel's Research & Development roadmap reveals that a 14nm manufacturing process is already in development, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.