Intel has reportedly struggled to develop and fine-tune its processors on the newer and slimmer fabrication processes. While there’s no cause of concern for Intel’s powerful CPUs for smartphones and other electronic applications, the desktop variants appear to be lagging behind in key areas like speed, reliability and high core count.

These problems appear to be in the 10nm fabrication process, reportedly forcing Intel to consider abandoning the process, particularly for its desktop processors, and instead, skip directly to the 7nm fabrication process. While the process skip might sound beneficial, it may invariably involve longer delays for powerful desktop CPUs with high core count. A new report goes on to claim that Intel’s most powerful desktop CPUs, built on the latest 7nm fabrication process, could start becoming a commercial reality in about two years’ time. Needless to add, this revised roadmap could further burden Intel. The company is already facing a lot of intense competition from AMD on multiple fronts.

Intel Ditching The 10nm Fabrication Process and Skipping Ahead to 7nm Manufacturing Technique For Desktop Processors:

A new report claims (From Hardwareluxx) that Intel is essentially abandoning the 10nm fabrication process, at least for its desktop line of processors. The company will reportedly focus entirely on 7nm manufacturing in this segment. While skipping ahead to a newer and more efficient technique might appear beneficial, the choice might set back the true commercial production of Intel desktop processors, built on the 7nm fabrication process, by at least two years, claims the report.

Intel has been reportedly struggling hard while shifting from 14 nm to 10 nm fabrication. Apparently, there were a lot of technical hurdles and challenges. Incidentally, Intel has been successful in producing its Ice Lake processors on the 10nm fabrication process, but these are limited to the mobile and smartphone segment. Technically, smartphone processors do not sport as high clock rates as their desktop counterparts. Moreover, the production process, although feasible, is limited to rather small volumes as compared to the 14nm fabrication process.

At present, Intel does not achieve the desired and required clock speeds for the Ice Lake-based desktop processors. Instead, the chipmaker uses Comet Lake-S and Rocket Lake-S to create an alternative 14 nm manufacturing schedule. According to the new report, Intel might just succeed in making new processors on the 10nm process, but they would only be suited for lightweight notebook computers.

Intel 7nm Desktop Processors To Arrive In 2022?

The first fully production-worthy, powerful Intel processors for desktops, built on the 7nm fabrication process, could arrive in 2022, claims the report. These could be Intel Meteor Lake processors and would have high core count, higher clock frequency and the reliability that Intel ensures in its products. However, before the 7nm CPUs hit the market, Intel could offer the Intel Ice Lake Xeon CPUs, but these may not possess the required attributes. Essentially, Intel has nearly perfected producing its processors on the 14nm fabrication process but has reportedly been facing trouble shrinking the die size to match AMD’s progress.

AMD has been making steady strides in the production process. Although the company has been facing similar challenges while moving on to the newer process, AMD appears quite confident about its roadmap. In the recent past, AMD’s processors have shown a lot of promise and have even taken on Intel’s products.

Intel, on the other hand, appears to be taking extra precautions. Instead of rushing into the 7nm fabrication process, the company is first eliminating the primary hurdles. According to the latest report, the upcoming Cooper Lake will offer up to 56 cores per socket, but only 28 cores are planned for Ice Lake. The report adds that ensuring High Core Count (HCC) and Extreme Core count (XCC) chips, is the main challenge while graduating to the 10nm fabrication process. The Canon Lake CPUs from Intel reportedly suffer from the poor performance of the technique called Contact Over Active Gate (COAG).

Coupled with concerning low clock speeds, Intel simply may not be able to reliably offer CPUs with high core count and exceptional reliability. And hence, Intel has reportedly decided to skip directly ahead to the 7nm fabrication process.