Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) will not introduce two product families based on 10nm node process. Instead, the company plans to launch three 10nm-based chips. It is official the first family of 10nm chips will be called Cannonlake, to be released in 2017. The second member is Icelake and is expected to come out in 2018. Then there is the third family of the 10nm process that is believed to be called Tigerlake, which could launch in 2019.
Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) is in the process of advancing its chip architecture and 10nm is the next step after 14nm. The company is in competition with Taiwan Semiconductor Mfg. Co. Ltd. (ADR) (NYSE:TSM) and others in the race to excite the market with more advanced processors.
Intel hasn’t explained why it is considering introducing a third 10nm chip. However, the company might be trying to impress chip buyers with a larger option of advanced chips as it seeks to gain share in the mobile segment and defend share in other segments such as desktop and servers.
TSM threatening to overtake Intel
The initial 10nm Cannonlake is expected to launch in 2H2017, followed by Icelake in 2H2018 and Tigerlake in 2H2019. If that is the rollout plan, it means that Intel might not upgrade its chips to 7nm process until 2020. However, delaying the transition to 7nm could see Intel overtaken by rival TSM, which is planning to enter mass production of 7nm and 5nm chips in early 2018 and 2020, respectively. TSM will start scale production of its 10nm chips later this year or early next year.
If Intel doesn’t accelerate its process transition, perhaps its 5nm-based chips might not be ready until after 2022. However, leaving TSM to lead the transition to more advanced chip technology could work against Intel, especially as the company seeks reboot in many market segments.
Breaking from tradition
Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) can be seen breaking from the norm with 14nm and 10nm CPUs. The company typically introduces two product lines in two years, but the 14nm and 10nm are set to see the company introduce three product lines in two years. In addition to the Cannonlake, Icelake and Tigerlake on the 10nm architecture front, Intel is working to launch Kaby Lake to join Skylake and Broadwell in the 14nm process category.