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Intel is reportedly killing off its 10nm process entirely

CHIPMAKER Intel has reportedly decided to cut its losses and kill off its 10nm process entirely.

Intel has had well-publicized struggles with the 10nm process. Its first 10nm silicon was originally slated for release in 2016, but technical challenges encountered in shrinking transistors to ever smaller scales led to the launch being delayed 2016 and, subsequently, 2017.  

Earlier this year, ex-Intel CEO Brian Krzanich was forced to admit that, due to “yield issues”, the firm wouldn’t be ramping up volume production of 10nm chips until 2019 at the earliest.

Now, SemiAccurate reports that the chipmaker has “pulled the plug on its struggling 10nm process” entirely. 

Charlie Demerjian writes: “The knifing of 10nm shows that Intel is finally willing to do the right things for the right reasons even if it costs them some short-term pain, it is the first adult decision we have seen from the company in several years.”

In an earlier report, Demerjian went so far as to speculate that Intel’s 10nm Cannon Lake parts “aren’t real and never will be viable, financially or technically speaking.”

Of course, we’d advise you take SemiAccurate‘s report with a hefty pinch of salt for now, as Intel has yet to comment. 

And it comes hot on the heels of a report which claimed that Intel’s 10nm production would begin earlier than expected.  Boston-based BlueFin Research Partners, via Bloomberg, says that Intel is finally making “significant strides” on the 10nm front, with all signs pointing to a launch in H1 2019. 

The report added that production could begin as early as April to six weeks ahead of the company’s public roadmap.

If SemiAccurate‘s report is, er, accurate, however, ditching 10nm entirely is not a good look for Intel, which is already years behind its competitors. AMD has confirmed that it plans to run its second and third generation Zen architecture x86 microprocessors on 7nm, while TSMC has already started production of its first 7nm silicon

Update
Intel has refuted SemiAccurate‘s report in a statement given to the INQUIRER.

“Media reports published today that Intel is ending work on the 10nm process are untrue,” a spokesperson told us. “We are making good progress on 10nm. Yields are improving consistent with the timeline we shared during our last earnings report.” µ

Further reading

Source : Inquirer

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