Thursday, September 20th 2018

Intel to Move Select Chipset Fabrication Back to 22nm in Wake of 14 nm Silicon Constraints

Things seem to be taking turns to the worse at Intel in accordance to Murphy's law. Not only was the company hit with a multitude of security flaws embedded in their CPUs, which puts their michroarchitecture design chops in jeopardy, but now they also have to contend with silicon fabrication snags. That Intel's 14 nm fabs are being hit with overwhelming demand for their output capacity is already a known quantity, with rising prices of Intel mainstream CPUs and reports of the company outsourcing 14 nm chip production to TSMC in a bid to increase availability - a first since the company became vertically integrated with both design and manufacturing of their own chips.

Now, reports are coming up that Intel will be moving some of its chipsets back to the 22 nm node - namely, the H310 chipset - so as to clear production capability from the 14 nm one. As you might remember, historically, Intel's chipsets have been one silicon manufacturing generation behind their CPUs. Due to the problems in Intel's 10 nm process and constrained output of their 14 nm process, this has now become a necessity again. The new H310 chipset, which had to be architecturally revised for 22 nm (which isn't as easy a thing as one might expect) will debut in the H310C or H310 R2.0 indicator. It will be physically larger (naturally) and incur in a small power efficiency loss as well, and - get this - support Windows 7, likely via asoftware/driver solution. Motherboards with the new chipset are already moving out into the supply chain. Sources: ETeknix, Tom's Hardware
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76 Comments on Intel to Move Select Chipset Fabrication Back to 22nm in Wake of 14 nm Silicon Constraints

#1
Solidstate89
I'm quite curious how after spending years and years on the 14nm process how they could still possibly have production issues with something they've been refining for over 4 years now. You'd think being stuck on a specific node for so long would allow them to achieve high levels of production.
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#3
hat
Enthusiast
How do you just roll back to an older node? Wouldn't you have to swap out existing 14nm tools for the 22nm ones?
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#4
TheinsanegamerN
Sounds like shutting down that brand new foundry was a BAD idea.

Who woulda thunk?
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#5
londiste
"Solidstate89 said:
I'm quite curious how after spending years and years on the 14nm process how they could still possibly have production issues with something they've been refining for over 4 years now. You'd think being stuck on a specific node for so long would allow them to achieve high levels of production.
They are in process of moving fabs over to 10nm.

"hat said:
How do you just roll back to an older node? Wouldn't you have to swap out existing 14nm tools for the 22nm ones?
They have a couple fabs still on older 22nm, I think they actually have one still on 32nm.
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#7
Ripper3
"hat said:
How do you just roll back to an older node? Wouldn't you have to swap out existing 14nm tools for the 22nm ones?
To add to @londiste's reply, Intel makes a lot of other chips, they have (and correct me if I'm wrong):
  • CPUs
  • Chipsets
  • Wired network controllers
  • Wireless network controllers
  • SSDs
  • Thunderbolt controllers
  • Probably even more
I'm sure at least one of those types of chips is currently overstocked, and built on 22nm, so they have the tooling setup, and demand low enough to switch manufacturing over for an amount of time to cope.
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#8
dj-electric
"BluesFanUK said:
AMD have destroyed them.
Agree. Time to close all factories and call it a day. Intel can't even make profit anymore. They're done.
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#9
ironwolf
So, 22nm, at last we meet again for the first time for the last time. :pimp:
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#10
InVasMani
How the hell did Intel screw on this big a scale. I mean this is not one, not two, but three major fuck ups. Simply put Intel has struck out big time at present.
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#11
Basard
"dj-electric said:
Agree. Time to close all factories and call it a day. Intel can't even make profit anymore. They're done.
So long, thanks for all the fish!:laugh:
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#12
iO
Maybe they forgot that 200 millions of modem chips for the iPhone have to be fabbed somehow..
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#13
ppn
I had no idea they moved chispets to 14nm, let alone moving back. Chipsets are usually 1 node behind, that should be 22nm now. or unless

In fact if you go to the official page it shows "Lithography22 nm" for Z370 and 14nm for H310. The latter is more advanced.

Go figure, so they made the move for the first time in history to produce both CPUs and chipsets on the same node and this happened.
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#14
Darmok N Jalad
"Solidstate89 said:
I'm quite curious how after spending years and years on the 14nm process how they could still possibly have production issues with something they've been refining for over 4 years now. You'd think being stuck on a specific node for so long would allow them to achieve high levels of production.
They just increased core counts across the product stack, resulting in larger CPU dies, and it also created higher demand because their 8th-gen is a significant upgrade. Normally the node shrink helps them keep a good die per wafer target. Larger CPUs + higher demand = supply issues.
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#15
Assimilator
God damn Intel, but this is dumb.

GET
YOUR S**T
SORTED ALREADY

You're making yourselves look like rank amateurs, not a silicon industry pioneer.
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#16
ppn
Intel just rebranded Z370 as H310 Rev.2.
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#18
bug
"Assimilator said:
God damn Intel, but this is dumb.

GET
YOUR S**T
SORTED ALREADY

You're making yourselves look like rank amateurs, not a silicon industry pioneer.
I'm pretty sure this crossed their minds already. Just ask Brian Krzanich ;)
Posted on Reply
#19
silentbogo
LoL. People see 22nm and immediately panic, thinking that all CPUs and SoCs will go backwards.
@Raevenlord , you should probably highlight words "chipset" and "H310" in bold, to make it easier for people with attention span of a hamster to jump to proper conclusions without reading the text. :D:D:D

Having an Intel PCH in a system, that is made on older process, makes nearly no difference. We've lived with that pretty much forever (only the recent 300-series being an exception). Back in a day a 45nm Nehalem and 32nm Westmere were paired with a 65nm chipset, 100/200-series were made on 22nm node. AMD has been making chipsets on 65nm process all the way 'till 2016, and even the latest Promontory is manufactured by AsMedia on 55nm fab (they've only started 32nm fabrication this year, but I could be wrong).
Given that the role and functions of a chipset or a platform hub are shrinking year by year, it won't make any difference (except for maybe 0.5W in peak power draw). Also, the only confirmed affected part is an H310 chipset, which is supposedly going to be called H310C.
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#20
Smartcom5
Some help to figure …


… with respective actual nodes as of, dunno, pretty recently I guess?

At least some site on 10nm is designated, so it also could be from '15. Who knows …
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#21
Vya Domus
"hat said:
How do you just roll back to an older node? Wouldn't you have to swap out existing 14nm tools for the 22nm ones?
What tools ? You just give TSMC your design and they fabricate it, their node, their tools.

That being said this matters little, it is though quite funny that they went through the troubler of bringing even their chipset on the latest node and now they have to go back.
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#22
notb
Huge LOL on the article and most of the comments. Intel is so bad, moving back to old 22mm fabs!
"Things seem to be taking turns to the worse at Intel in accordance to Murphy's law. Not only was the company hit with a multitude of security flaws embedded in their CPUs, which puts their michroarchitecture design chops in jeopardy, but now they also have to contend with silicon fabrication snags "

Remember to always mention Intel's CPU security problems! :-D

What happens in real life:
1) Intel is moving chosen plants to 10nm,
2) They have a huge order portfolio, so they had to shuffle production sites a bit,
3) 22nm fabs will make H310C - the cheapest and simplest chipset in the lineup.

To be honest, I don't know why they moved to 14nm in the first place. All pre-Z370 chipsets were 22nm or older (yes, including X299 and C422) and it's not like they're low on features or anything.
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#23
xorbe
"londiste said:
They have a couple fabs still on older 22nm, I think they actually have one still on 32nm.
I guess technically products that don't need to jam the frequency and voltage to the ceiling should be fine on slightly older processes. Though idle draw may be slightly higher depending on the size of the die. No doubt cpus and gpus should take priority over much smaller chips.
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#24
rebrandeon
CPU price drop confirmed right now everywhere in EU you must pay ~430euro ! for i7 8700k
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#25
Darmok N Jalad
"notb said:
Huge LOL on the article and most of the comments. Intel is so bad, moving back to old 22mm fabs!
"Things seem to be taking turns to the worse at Intel in accordance to Murphy's law. Not only was the company hit with a multitude of security flaws embedded in their CPUs, which puts their michroarchitecture design chops in jeopardy, but now they also have to contend with silicon fabrication snags "

Remember to always mention Intel's CPU security problems! :-D

What happens in real life:
1) Intel is moving chosen plants to 10nm,
2) They have a huge order portfolio, so they had to shuffle production sites a bit,
3) 22nm fabs will make H310C - the cheapest and simplest chipset in the lineup.

To be honest, I don't know why they moved to 14nm in the first place. All pre-Z370 chipsets were 22nm or older (yes, including X299 and C422) and it's not like they're low on features or anything.
I’m guessing they moved chipsets to 14nm on regular schedule, with the assumption that 10nm would be ready by now. It’s possible that Ryzen forced their hand into adding more cores, but without a node shrink, which hampers volume. This is the longest Intel node delay that I can recall, and I’ve been following more intently since the Pentium III era. These product lines are so long in development, there’s no way Intel could have planned for this much trouble. Also factor in that some lines have to be retooled to 10nm by now, but they aren’t producing anything profitable yet. It’s a double-whammy at this point. Bigger chips, less manufacturering capacity.
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