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Intel's CEO Blames 10 nm Delay on being "Too Aggressive"

During Fortune's Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colorado, Intel's CEO Bob Swan took stage and talked about the company, about where Intel is now and where they are headed in the future and how the company plans to evolve. Particular focus was put on how Intel became "data centric" from "PC centric," and the struggles it encountered.

However, when asked about the demise of Moore's Law, Swan detailed the aggressiveness that they approached the challenge with. Instead of the regular two times improvement in transistor density every two years, Swan said that Intel has always targeted better and greater densities so that it would stay the leader in the business.

Intel "Sapphire Rapids" Brings PCIe Gen 5 and DDR5 to the Data-Center

As if the mother of all ironies, prior to its effective death-sentence dealt by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Huawei's server business developed an ambitious product roadmap for its Fusion Server family, aligning with Intel's enterprise processor roadmap. It describes in great detail the key features of these processors, such as core-counts, platform, and I/O. The "Sapphire Rapids" processor will introduce the biggest I/O advancements in close to a decade, when it releases sometime in 2021.

With an unannounced CPU core-count, the "Sapphire Rapids-SP" processor will introduce DDR5 memory support to the data-center, which aims to double bandwidth and memory capacity over the DDR4 generation. The processor features an 8-channel (512-bit wide) DDR5 memory interface. The second major I/O introduction is PCI-Express gen 5.0, which not only doubles bandwidth over gen 4.0 to 32 Gbps per lane, but also comes with a constellation of data-center-relevant features that Intel is pushing out in advance as part of the CXL Interconnect. CXL and PCIe gen 5 are practically identical.

Intel Switches Gears to 7nm Post 10nm, First Node Live in 2021

Intel's semiconductor manufacturing business has had a terrible past 5 years as it struggled to execute its 10 nanometer roadmap forcing the company's processor designers to re-hash the "Skylake" microarchitecture for 5 generations of Core processors, including the upcoming "Comet Lake." Its truly next-generation microarchitecture, codenamed "Ice Lake," which features a new CPU core design called "Sunny Cove," comes out toward the end of 2019, with desktop rollouts expected 2020. It turns out that the 10 nm process it's designed for, will have a rather short reign at Intel's fabs. Speaking at an investor's summit on Wednesday, Intel put out its silicon fabrication roadmap that sees an accelerated roll-out of Intel's own 7 nm process.

When it goes live and fit for mass production some time in 2021, Intel's 7 nm process will be a staggering 3 years behind TSMC, which fired up its 7 nm node in 2018. AMD is already mass-producing CPUs and GPUs on this node. Unlike TSMC, Intel will implement EUV (extreme ultraviolet) lithography straightaway. TSMC began 7 nm with DUV (deep ultraviolet) in 2018, and its EUV node went live in March. Samsung's 7 nm EUV node went up last October. Intel's roadmap doesn't show a leap from its current 10 nm node to 7 nm EUV, though. Intel will refine the 10 nm node to squeeze out energy-efficiency, with a refreshed 10 nm+ node that goes live some time in 2020.

Intel 10nm Ice Lake to Quantitatively Debut Within 2019

Intel put out interesting details about its upcoming 10 nanometer "Ice Lake" CPU microarchitecture rollout in its recent quarterly financial results call. The company has started qualification of its 10 nm "Ice Lake" processors. This involves sending engineering samples to OEMs, system integrators and other relevant industry partners, and getting the chips approved for their future product designs. The first implementation of "Ice Lake" will not be a desktop processor, but rather a low-power mobile SoC designed for ultraportables, codenamed "Ice Lake-U." This SoC packs a 4-core/8-thread CPU based on the "Sunny Cove" core design, and Gen11 GT2 integrated graphics with 64 execution units and nearly 1 TFLOP/s compute power. This SoC will also support WiFi 6 and LPDDR4X memory.

Intel CEO Bob Swan also remarked that the company has doubled its 10 nm yield expectations. "On the [10 nm] process technology front, our teams executed well in Q1 and our velocity is increasing," he said, adding "We remain on track to have volume client systems on shelves for the holiday selling season. And over the past four months, the organization drove a nearly 2X improvement in the rate at which 10nm products move through our factories." Intel is prioritizing enterprise over desktop, as "Ice Lake-U" will be followed by "Ice Lake-SP" Xeon rollout in 2020. There was no mention of desktop implementations such as "Ice Lake-S." Intel is rumored to be preparing a stopgap microarchitecture for the desktop platform to compete with AMD "Matisse" Zen 2 AM4 processors, codenamed "Comet Lake." This is essentially a Skylake 10-core die fabbed on existing 14 nm++ node. AMD in its CES keynote announced an achievement of per-core performance parity with Intel, so it could be interesting to see how Intel hopes 10 "Skylake" cores match up to 12-16 "Zen 2" cores.

Intel Reports First-Quarter 2019 Financial Results

Intel Corporation today reported first-quarter 2019 financial results. "Results for the first quarter were slightly higher than our January expectations. We shipped a strong mix of high performance products and continued spending discipline while ramping 10nm and managing a challenging NAND pricing environment. Looking ahead, we're taking a more cautious view of the year, although we expect market conditions to improve in the second half," said Bob Swan, Intel CEO. "Our team is focused on expanding our market opportunity, accelerating our innovation and improving execution while evolving our culture. We aim to capitalize on key technology inflections that set us up to play a larger role in our customers' success, while improving returns for our owners."

In the first quarter, the company generated approximately $5.0 billion in cash from operations, paid dividends of $1.4 billion and used $2.5 billion to repurchase 49 million shares of stock. In the first quarter, Intel achieved 4 percent growth in the PC-centric business while data-centric revenue declined 5 percent.

Intel Driving Data-Centric World with New 10nm Intel Agilex FPGA Family

Intel announced today a brand-new product family, the Intel Agilex FPGA. This new family of field programmable gate arrays (FPGA) will provide customized solutions to address the unique data-centric business challenges across embedded, network and data center markets. "The race to solve data-centric problems requires agile and flexible solutions that can move, store and process data efficiently. Intel Agilex FPGAs deliver customized connectivity and acceleration while delivering much needed improvements in performance and power for diverse workloads," said Dan McNamara, Intel senior vice president, Programmable Solutions Group.

Customers need solutions that can aggregate and process increasing amounts of data traffic to enable transformative applications in emerging, data-driven industries like edge computing, networking and cloud. Whether it's through edge analytics for low-latency processing, virtualized network functions to improve performance, or data center acceleration for greater efficiency, Intel Agilex FPGAs are built to deliver customized solutions for applications from the edge to the cloud. Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) analytics at the edge, network and the cloud are compelling hardware systems to cope with evolving standards, support varying AI workloads, and integrate multiple functions. Intel Agilex FPGAs provide the flexibility and agility required to meet these challenges and deliver gains in performance and power.

Intel Announces Broadest Product Portfolio for Moving, Storing, and Processing Data

Intel Tuesday unveiled a new portfolio of data-centric solutions consisting of 2nd-Generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors, Intel Optane DC memory and storage solutions, and software and platform technologies optimized to help its customers extract more value from their data. Intel's latest data center solutions target a wide range of use cases within cloud computing, network infrastructure and intelligent edge applications, and support high-growth workloads, including AI and 5G.

Building on more than 20 years of world-class data center platforms and deep customer collaboration, Intel's data center solutions target server, network, storage, internet of things (IoT) applications and workstations. The portfolio of products advances Intel's data-centric strategy to pursue a massive $300 billion data-driven market opportunity.

Samsung Develops Industry's First 3rd-generation 10nm-Class DRAM

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the world leader in advanced memory technology, today announced that it has developed a 3rd-generation 10-nanometer-class (1z-nm) eight-gigabit (Gb) Double Data Rate 4 (DDR4) DRAM for the first time in the industry. In just 16 months since it began mass producing the 2nd-generation 10nm-class (1y-nm) 8Gb DDR4, development of 1z-nm 8Gb DDR4 without the use of Extreme Ultra-Violet (EUV) processing has pushed the limits of DRAM scaling even further.

As 1z-nm becomes the industry's smallest memory process node, Samsung is now primed to respond to increasing market demands with its new DDR4 DRAM that has more than 20-percent higher manufacturing productivity compared to the previous 1y-nm version. Mass production of the 1z-nm 8Gb DDR4 will begin within the second half of this year to accommodate next-generation enterprise servers and high-end PCs expected to be launched in 2020.

Samsung Launches Highest-capacity Mobile DRAM

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the world leader in advanced memory technology, today announced that it has begun mass producing the highest-capacity mobile DRAM - the industry's first 12-gigabyte (GB) low-power double data rate 4X (LPDDR4X) package - optimized for tomorrow's premium smartphones. Featuring higher capacity than most ultra-thin notebooks, the new mobile DRAM will enable smartphone users to take full advantage of all the features in next-generation smartphones.

"With mass production of the new LPDDR4X, Samsung is now providing a comprehensive lineup of advanced memory to power the new era of smartphones, from 12GB mobile DRAM to 512GB eUFS 3.0 storage," said Sewon Chun, executive vice president of Memory Marketing at Samsung Electronics. "Moreover, with the LPDDR4X, we're strengthening our position as the premium mobile memory maker best positioned to accommodate rapidly growing demand from global smartphone manufacturers."

Intel 10nm "Ice Lake" to Combine "Sunny Cove" CPU Cores with Gen11 iGPU

Intel's upcoming "Ice Lake" die could be the company's biggest processor innovation in a decade, combining new clean-slate design "Sunny Cove" CPU cores, and a new integrated graphics solution based on the company's Gen11 architecture. "Sunny Cove" introduces significant IPC (single-thread performance) gains over "Coffee Lake," introduces new ISA instruction sets, including AVX-512; and a brand new uncore component; while the Gen11 graphics core is Intel's first iGPU to reach the 1 TFLOP/s mark. Intel demonstrated the ultra-low power "Ice Lake-U" SoC platform in its 2018 Architecture Day briefing.

This "Ice Lake-U" chip, with its TDP in the ballpark of 15 W, was shown ripping through 7-zip and "Tekken 7." With 7-zip, Intel was trying to demonstrate vector-AES and SHA-NI improving archive encryption performance by 75 percent over "Skylake." The Gen11 iGPU was shown providing a smoother gameplay than Skylake with Gen9, although the company neither mentioned resolution, nor frame-rates. Anandtech wagers it's above 30 fps.

Intel 7nm EUV Node Back On Track, 2x Transistor Densities Over 10nm

There could be light at the end of the tunnel for Intel's silicon fabrication business after all, as the company reported that its 7 nanometer silicon fabrication node, which incorporates EUV (extreme ultraviolet) lithography, is on track. The company stressed in its Nasdaq Investors' Conference presentation that its 7 nm EUV process is de-linked from its 10 nm DUV (deep ultraviolet) node, and that there are separate teams working on their development. The 10 nm DUV node is qualitatively online, and is manufacturing small batches of low-power mobile "Cannon Lake" Core processors.

Cannon Lake is an optical shrink of the "Skylake" architecture to the 10 nm node. Currently there's only one SKU based on it, the Core i3-8121U. Intel utilized the electrical gains from the optical shrink to redesign the client-segment architecture's FPU to support the AVX-512 instruction-set (although not as feature-rich as the company's enterprise-segment "Skylake" derivatives). The jump from 10 nm DUV to 7 nm EUV will present a leap in transistor densities, with Intel expecting nothing short of a doubling. 10 nm DUV uses a combination of 193 nm wavelength ultraviolet lasers and multi-patterning to achieve its transistor density gains over 14 nm++. The 7 nm EUV node uses an extremely advanced 135 nm indirect laser, reducing the need for multi-patterning. The same laser coupled with multi-patterning could be Intel's ticket to 5 nm.

Intel Candidly Discusses Troubles at Credit Suisse 22nd Annual TMT Conference

For years Intel was able to maintain their endless tick-tock cycle however with the switch from 14nm to 10nm Intel realized all too late that they had bitten off more than they could chew. According to Robert Swan, Intel's Interim Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, "we set out in the transition to 10 nm to attempt to scale much faster than we ever had at a time when I think most would argue the technology and the science and the challenges are more challenging they've ever been. So, we took a fairly aggressive scaling factor, roughly 2x of what the competitors do. So, we went for the analogy that a grand slam, I think, when the competition was hitting really solid singles."

Essentially Intel had hedged their bets that they could take a revolutionary step instead of the more typical evolutionary one thereby leaving their competition behind. Instead, it's resulted in the current situation that we are all very much aware of, that Intel is far behind their original predicted schedule. While that timeline has since been revised and they are now on course to release 10nm products in 2019, and 2020 Intel has also made it known that they plan to regain their leadership position as that transition begins.

NVIDIA GTX 1060 and GTX 1050 Successors in 2019; Turing Originally Intended for 10nm

NVIDIA could launch successors to its GeForce GTX 1060 series and GTX 1050 series only by 2019, according to a statement by an ASUS representative, speaking with PC Watch. This could mean that the high-end RTX 2080 Ti, RTX 2080, and RTX 2070, could be the only new SKUs for Holiday 2018 from NVIDIA, alongside cut-rate GeForce GTX 10-series SKUs. This could be a combination of swelling inventories of 10-series GPUs, and insufficient volumes of mid-range RTX 20-series chips, should NVIDIA even decide to extend real-time ray-tracing to mid-range graphics cards.

The way NVIDIA designed the RTX 2070 out of the physically smaller TU106 chip instead of TU104 leads us to believe that NVIDIA could carve out the GTX 1060-series successor based on this chip, since the RTX 2070 maxes it out, and NVIDIA needs to do something with imperfect chips. An even smaller chip (probably half-a-TU104?) could power the GTX 1050-series successor.

TSMC Ex-Employee Charged with Smuggling 16nm and 10nm IP to HLMC

A former employee of TSMC, Taiwan's premier silicon fabrication foundry, has been charged with stealing trade-secrets to his next employer across the straits. Mentioned as "Chou" by DigiTimes, the employee has been charged with IP theft and smuggling trade-secrets of vital 10 nanometer and 16 nanometer silicon fabrication technologies over to his next job at Shanghai Huali Microelectronics (HLMC).

Before Chou could flee TSMC to HLMC, he was arrested by Taiwan Police, and indicted for breach of trust. With the matter now in the hands of the applicable District Prosecutors' Office, it has become subjudice and TSMC isn't issuing comments. Development of 10 nanometer (and newer) silicon fabrication nodes is proving exceedingly costly and painstaking for foundry companies, and it hurts their future just that much worse when someone does away with billions of dollars worth R&D.

Samsung Begins Mass Producing 2nd-Gen 10nm-Class, 16Gb LPDDR4X Mobile DRAM

Samsung Electronics, the world leader in advanced memory technology, today announced that it has begun mass producing the industry's first 2nd-generation of 10-nanometer-class (1y-nm), LPDDR4X (Low Power, Double Data Rate, 4X) DRAM to improve the efficiency and lower the battery drain of today's premium smartphones and other mobile applications. Compared to the mobile DRAM memory chips most used in current flagship mobile devices (1x-nm 16Gb LPDDR4X), the 2nd- generation LPDDR4X DRAM features up to a 10 percent power reduction while maintaining the same data rate of 4,266 megabits per second (Mb/s).

"The advent of 10nm-class mobile DRAM will enable significantly enhanced solutions for next-generation, flagship mobile devices that should first hit the market late this year or the first part of 2019." said Sewon Chun, senior vice president of Memory Sales & Marketing at Samsung Electronics. "We will continue to grow our premium DRAM lineup to lead the 'high-performance, high capacity, and low power' memory segment to meet the market demand and strengthen our business competitiveness."

Samsung Announces 10 nm-Class DDR4 SO-DIMMs for Gaming Notebooks

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the world leader in advanced memory technology, today announced that it has started mass producing the industry's first 32-gigabyte (GB) double data rate 4 (DDR4) memory for gaming laptops in the widely used format of small outline dual in-line memory modules (SoDIMMs). The new SoDIMMs are based on 10-nanometer (nm)-class process technology that will allow users to enjoy enriched PC-grade computer games on the go, with significantly more capacity, higher speeds and lower energy consumption.

Using the new memory solution, PC manufacturers can build faster top-of-the-line gaming-oriented laptops with longer battery life at capacities exceeding conventional mobile workstations, while maintaining existing PC configurations. "Samsung's 32GB DDR4 DRAM modules will deliver gaming experiences on laptops more powerful and immersive than ever before," said Sewon Chun, senior vice president of memory marketing at Samsung Electronics. "We will continue to provide the most advanced DRAM portfolios with enhanced speed and capacity for all key market segments including premium laptops and desktops."

Samsung Begins Mass Production of 10 nm-class 16 Gb LPDDR4X DRAM for Automobiles

Samsung Electronics, the world leader in advanced memory technology, today announced that it has begun mass producing 10-nanometer (nm)-class 16-gigabit (Gb) LPDDR4X DRAM for automobiles. The latest LPDDR4X features high performance and energy efficiency while significantly raising the thermal endurance level for automotive applications that often need to operate in extreme environments. The 10nm-class DRAM will also enable the industry's fastest automotive DRAM-based LPDDR4X interface with the highest density.

"The 16Gb LPDDR4X DRAM is our most advanced automotive solution yet, offering global automakers outstanding reliability, endurance, speed, capacity and energy efficiency, ," said Sewon Chun, senior vice president of memory marketing at Samsung Electronics. "Samsung will continue to closely collaborate with manufacturers developing diverse automotive systems, in delivering premium memory solutions anywhere."

Samsung Starts Producing Industry's First 16-Gigabit GDDR6 Memory

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the world leader in advanced memory technology, today announced that it has started mass production of the industry's first 16-gigabit (Gb) Graphics Double Data Rate 6 (GDDR6) memory for use in advanced graphics processing for gaming devices and graphics cards as well as automotive, network and artificial intelligence systems.

"Beginning with this early production of the industry's first 16 Gb GDDR6, we will offer a comprehensive graphics DRAM line-up, with the highest performance and densities, in a very timely manner," said Jinman Han, senior vice president, Memory Product Planning & Application Engineering at Samsung Electronics. "By introducing next-generation GDDR6 products, we will strengthen our presence in the gaming and graphics card markets and accommodate the growing need for advanced graphics memory in automotive and network systems."

Samsung Now Mass Producing Industry's First 2nd-Generation 10nm Class DRAM

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the world leader in advanced memory technology, announced today that it has begun mass producing the industry's first 2nd-generation of 10-nanometer class (1y-nm), 8-gigabit (Gb) DDR4 DRAM. For use in a wide range of next-generation computing systems, the new 8 Gb DDR4 features the highest performance and energy efficiency for an 8 Gb DRAM chip, as well as the smallest dimensions.

"By developing innovative technologies in DRAM circuit design and process, we have broken through what has been a major barrier for DRAM scalability," said Gyoyoung Jin, president of Memory Business at Samsung Electronics. "Through a rapid ramp-up of the 2nd-generation 10 nm-class DRAM, we will expand our overall 10 nm-class DRAM production more aggressively, in order to accommodate strong market demand and continue to strengthen our business competitiveness."

Samsung Starts Mass Production of its 2nd Generation 10nm FinFET

Samsung Electronics, a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, today announced that its Foundry Business has commenced mass production of System-on-Chip (SoC) products built on its second generation 10-nanometer (nm) FinFET process technology, 10LPP (Low Power Plus).

10LPP process technology allows up to 10-percent higher performance or 15-percent lower power consumption compared to its first generation 10nm process technology, 10LPE (Low Power Early). As this process is derived from the already proven 10LPE technology, it offers competitive advantages by greatly reducing turn-around time from development to mass production and by providing significantly higher initial manufacturing yield. SoCs designed with 10LPP process technology will be used in digital devices scheduled to launch early next year and are expected to become more widely available throughout the year.

Qualcomm Starts Shipping 48-Core Centriq 2400 Processors

At a press conference held today in San Jose, Calif., Qualcomm Datacenter Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM), officially announced commercial shipment of the world's first and only 10 nanometer server processor series: the Qualcomm Centriq 2400 processor family. The Qualcomm Centriq 2400 processor family is the first high-performance Arm-based processor series designed to offer groundbreaking throughput performance for cloud workloads running in today's datacenters. Purpose built for cloud, the Qualcomm Centriq 2400 server processor family delivers exceptional performance-per-watt and performance-per dollar.

"Today's announcement is an important achievement and the culmination of more than four years of intense design, development and ecosystem enablement effort," said Anand Chandrasekher, senior vice president and general manager, Qualcomm Datacenter Technologies, Inc. "We have designed the most advanced Arm-based server processor in the world that delivers high performance coupled with the highest energy efficiency, enabling our customers to realize significant cost savings."

Intel Delays 10nm "Cannon Lake" to Late-2018

Intel is reportedly delaying the roll-out of its first processors built on its 10 nanometer silicon fabrication process, codenamed "Cannon Lake" for the third time since its inception. The first products based on the silicon will now come out only by late-2018. In the meantime, Intel could continue to ride on its new 8th generation Core "Coffee Lake" processors, including the augmentation of an 8-core mainstream desktop (MSDT) part in the second-half of 2018.

Notebook manufacturers are less than enthusiastic about "Cannon Lake," and plan to skip it altogether for its successor, codenamed "Ice Lake," which could come out in 2019. It won't be the first time OEMs have done this, as Intel's 5th generation Core "Broadwell" architecture was mostly skipped over in the notebook and MSDT segments.

Samsung Completes Qualification of its 2nd Generation 10nm Process Technology

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, announced today that its second generation 10-nanometer (nm) FinFET process technology, 10LPP (Low Power Plus), has been qualified and is ready for production. With further enhancement in 3D FinFET structure, 10LPP allows up to 10-percent higher performance or 15-percent lower power consumption compared to the first generation 10LPE (Low-Power Early) process with the same area scaling.

Samsung was the first in the industry to begin mass production of system-on-chips (SoCs) products on 10LPE last October. The latest Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphones are powered by some of these SoCs. To meet long-term demand for the 10nm process for a wide range of customers, Samsung has started installing production equipment at its newest S3-line in Hwaseong, Korea. The S3-line is expected to be ready for production by the fourth quarter of this year.

Samsung Details New Foundry Offerings at 14nm (LPU) and 10nm (LPU)

In an announcement that's sure to stir the foundry gods, Samsung Electronics, a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, announced today that it is expanding its advanced foundry process technology offerings with the fourth-generation 14-nanometer (nm) process (14LPU) and the third-generation 10nm process (10LPU). The announcement comes as Samsung increases investment so as to meet the requirements of next generation products, ranging from mobile and consumer electronics (Snapdragon 830 and Samsung's own Exynos 8895 come to mind) to data centers and automotives.

Ben Suh, Senior Vice President of foundry marketing at Samsung Electronics, issued the following statement: "After we announced the industry's first 10nm mass production in mid-October, we have now also expanded our lineup with new foundry offerings, 14LPU and 10LPU. Samsung is very confident with our technology definitions that provide design advantages on an aggressive process with manufacturability considerations. We have received tremendous positive market feedback and are looking forward to expanding our leadership in the advanced process technology space."
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