Intel wants to bring back process lead with AMD - but will its CPU power issues ruin its plans?

It looks like Intel has had enough drama already, enjoying the process, and CEO Bob Swan is confirming in a recent conference call that Intel is “investing to recapture the leadership process in the future” and that it plans to launch its first 7nm products in the third quarter of 2021 of the year.

While Intel has been shipping 10nm and 14nm processors (and is struggling with 14nm - more on that in a bit), its rival AMD is already hitting the market with 7nm products with the likes of AMD's Ryzen 9 3900X.

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Intel has admitted in the past that it won't catch up with AMD's 7nm process until 2021, but at the time it told us that its 10nm process is comparable to AMD's 7nm process. This may be true, but it seems that Intel doesn't want to let AMD process lead anymore.

Cygnus also revealed that he would move back to a two-year development cycle, similar to his tick-tock model he used from 2007 to 2016.

The tick-tock model means that Intel first worked on a new microarchitecture (current), which then followed, roughly one year to 18 months, as a die cut process technology (TIC), which improved and optimized the architecture.

This model helped Intel to keep the process leading, but in 2016 it changed its “process, architecture, optimization” model, which essentially added a third stage of optimization.

Stick to 10nm and figure out supply issues

The company will not abandon the 10 nm process, and will increase production volumes.

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Lebed made these comments as Intel's third-quarter performance report 2019, which he remarked was "the best quarter in our company's history," with Intel generating $19.2 billion in revenue.

Intel's new data-centric processor business model that focuses on server, cloud and Internet of Things devices, mainly to thank for the record results.

However, Intel's traditional PC-oriented business is struggling, with PC revenue down 5% y/y, about what is expected based on its second-quarter results earlier this year. As the company hoped then demand for new 10nm Ice Lake processors helped offset that drop – with Intel flooding the market with 30 designs by the end of 2019. This will hopefully have a positive impact on Intel's fourth quarter results.

During the earnings call, it also emerged that Intel is still struggling with supply issues with the 14nm process. “We are working hard to restore the balance of supply and demand. But we expect to continue to be appealed in the fourth quarter,” Swan admits.

Intel hopes to meet demand by 2020 by increasing its 14nm power.

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