Skip to main content

Intel CFO: “10nm isn’t going to be the best node that Intel has ever had”

Intel is looking to jump past prior woes with its 10nm processor architecture to a smaller, more efficient 7nm or 5nm design in an effort to compete against rival AMD‘s latest 7nm CPU and GPU offerings.

“Look, [10nm] just isn’t going to be the best node that Intel has ever had,” Intel CFO George Davis admitted to analysts at Morgan Stanley’s Technology, Media, and Telecom conference, according to a report on German publication Computer Base. “It’s going to be less productive than 14[nm], less productive than 22[nm].”

Related Videos

Intel’s first 10nm processors, called Ice Lake came out in late 2019, but only for laptops. The follow-up 10nm processors, Tiger Lake, are set for later this year. But for processors that require more power, such as on desktop or on H-series laptops, Intel has been sticking with 14nm.

Despite admitting that the 10nm process was not the best fit for Intel, Davis did say that the company is seeing improvements. “And we expect to start the 7nm period with a much better profile of performance over that starting at the end of 2021,” he said.

Intel hopes that its jump to a 7nm design will deliver much better performance, and the first processors should arrive sometime in 2021.

Beyond that, Intel is even looking to a smaller 5nm architecture. Intel has been making big investments into more efficient designs, and the company’s race to 5nm may have a negative mpact on financial performance, PC Games N reported.

Still, Intel is making these investments in an effort to “regain leadership” in this space from AMD, which had achieved 7nm ahead of Intel’s release timeline.

“We were at a time when in order to regain process leadership, we had to accelerate the overlap between 10[nm and] 7[nm], and then 7[nm] and 5[nm],” Davis said at the conference. “And so the cost that you’re absorbing, starting in particularly 2021, you’ve got this intersection of a performance of 10, the investment in 7 and we’re also willing to start an investment of 5, all of those elements just combine to impact gross margin.”

In addition to AMD’s Zen 2 architecture, Qualcomm had also achieved 7nm for its Snapdragon processors. Though the majority of Snapdragon chips are found in smartphones, Qualcomm’s silicon is also used in ARM-powered Windows PCs like Samsung’s Galaxy Book S and Microsoft’s Surface Pro X.

Given the widely reported delays Intel experienced when it began its transition to 10nm and the silicon shortages, accelerating the transition to 7nm and 5nm could slow market demand, as consumers may hold off on upgrading their existing systems while they wait for the next best silicon on the roadmap.

Editors' Recommendations

The Galaxy Book 3 Ultra is Samsung’s most powerful laptop ever
Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra laptop.

Samsung has announced updates to its flagship Galaxy Book laptops for 2023, including a new addition called the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra. This one is Samsung's answer to the 16-inch MacBook Pro -- a maxed-out beast of a laptop with up to an Nvidia RTX 4070 and an Intel 13th-gen Core i9 processor.

Samsung has shied away from tackling a larger, more powerful laptop, making the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra particularly noteworthy. It's not small though. The 16-inch laptop is 0.65 inches thick and weighs 3.9 pounds. That's large for a Samsung laptop, but it's actually over a pound lighter than the 16-inch MacBook Pro -- to put things in perspective.

Read more
AMD Ryzen 7000: availability, pricing, specs, and architecture
A group shot of Ryzen 7000 CPUs.

AMD's Ryzen 7000 CPUs are here, and there are plenty of them to go around. AMD started out strong by introducing the best processors in the Zen 4 lineup, including the flagship Ryzen 9 7950X, and then followed up by launching even more CPUs. Now, the Ryzen 7000 family includes a whole host of desktop and mobile CPUs, and the 3D V-Cache versions of AMD's chips are right around the corner.

We've already had the chance to test some of AMD's latest and greatest, and with more to come, we've kept our ears to the ground to not miss any details about the upcoming CPUs. Here's everything we know about Ryzen 7000.
Pricing and availability

Read more
If you think PCs are dying, you haven’t been paying attention
A laptop sits on a desk with a Windows 11 wallpaper.

It's been a grim week for the world of computers. If you aren't up-to-date on financial statements (and I can't blame you for that), let me catch you up to speed. Microsoft started the week by posting a 39% decline in its Windows revenue, followed shortly by Intel recording a 36% drop for its Client Computing Group (consumer products). AMD and Apple are announcing their earnings next week, with dire predictions as the demand for PCs comes to a standstill.

PCs are dying, or that's how the story usually goes for these types of drops. In 2015, a 5% drop was enough for Wired to declare, "no, really, the PC is dying." And in 2009, when PC sales dropped by 8%, John Herrman at Gizmodo wrote: "I just can't go on pretending there's a future for [desktop PCs]." Those single-digit drops were enough to ruffle feathers, so between a 35% and 40% decline? That looks like certain death.

Read more