by Anton Shilov
01/20/2014 | 11:31 PM
Intel Corp. said last week that it was on track to start volume production of its next-generation microprocessors based on the “Broadwell” micro-architecture using 14nm process technology this quarter. The world’s largest chipmaker will start to roll-out new processors in the third quarter of the year starting from chips aimed at innovative PC form-factors.
“Yields improved significantly in Q4 putting it squarely on track with the Broadwell production later this quarter. Our customers and partners also continue to evolve the computing exercise. By the time we enter the back to school selling season we have nearly 70 unique 2-in-1 designs with outstanding battery life and performance across a range of price points in those markets,” said Brian Krzanich, chief executive officer of Intel, during a conference call with investors and analysts.
Back in October, 2012, Intel announced that it would delay mass production of the next-generation code-named “Broadwell” microprocessors by one quarter, from Q4 2013 to Q1 2014. The decision to postpone mass production of Broadwell was conditioned not only by slow demand for personal computers in general and microprocessors in particular, but also by yields that were below Intel’s comfortable level. The company had to insert a number of fixes into 14nm process technology in a bid to improve yields and lower defect density.
Shortly after Intel made its official announcement, slides from the company’s roadmap made it to the Internet and revealed that the chip giant only plans to start rolling-out its mainstream Broadwell microprocessors for desktops and laptops in late Q4 2014.
Last week it was revealed that Intel would begin to introduce various chips based on the Broadwell micro-architecture starting from Q3 2014. In case the information about release of select Broadwell chips in the third quarter is correct, then the first actual products (mainboards, notebooks, desktops, etc.) featuring the new chips will show up at the forthcoming Computex Taipei 2014 trade-show in early June. As a result, it will be logical to expect them to arrive by back-to-school (BTS) season.
During its news conference last week Intel confirmed that the first Core i-series “Broadwell” chips will be aimed at PCs in all-in-one, 2-in-1, convertible and other similar form-factors.
“We will start production of wafers on Broadwell, a 14nm product targeting these form factors in the first quarter,” said Mr. Krzanich.
Intel’s forthcoming Broadwell micro-architecture resembles existing Haswell micro-architecture, but contains a number of tweaks aimed to improve performance and boost battery life. Since the new chips will be made using thinner process technology, it is logical to expect higher energy-efficiency and/or additional clock-speed potential.
Unfortunately, the roll-out of Broadwell is expected to be relatively slow and Intel’s main force for this year will continue to central processing units based on the Haswell micro-architecture, including those that belong to Haswell- refresh family.