Intel: 14nm Atom “Airmont” Processors Are On-Track for 2014

Despite Broadwell Delay, Next-Gen Atom Chips Still Due in 2014

by Anton Shilov
10/17/2013 | 11:20 PM

Intel Corp. this week announced delay of mass production of its next-generation Core chips using 14nm process technology due to necessity to improve yields. The consequence is availability delay of code-named Broadwell microprocessor by at least one quarter. Despite major redesign of high-performance microprocessor roadmap, Intel claims that Atom plans are on track.


“As our CEO said earlier this week, our 14nm production will now begin in Q1. This means Broadwell products are expected in the 2H of 2014. We demonstrated a working Broadwell system at IDF. We have not disclosed timing for 14nm Atom yet other than to say that we would deliver the 14nm Airmont micro-architecture in 2014. Nothing new beyond that to report right now,” said Kari Aakre, a spokeswoman for Intel.

The main reason behind delay of mass production is insufficient yields of chips made using 14nm general-purpose manufacturing process (P1272) mostly aimed at central processing units. In a bid to improve yields, Intel had to insert a number of fixes into its fabrication technology, but failed to do that on time. As a result, the company had to delay mass production of next-generation code-named Broadwell microprocessor.

Highly-integrated Intel Atom system-on-chips are produced using a special version of 14nm process technology for SoC (P1273), which has a number of similarities, but also a number of differences compared to 14nm general-purpose (P1272) technology. While it is possible that the problems with 14nm/P1272 may not affect 14nm/P1273, it is also possible that necessary changes should be implemented into SoC-oriented technology, which may cause some shift of the plans.

Earlier this year it was reported that in a bid to address different types of tablets, Intel intends to release code-named Cherry Trail system-on-chips featuring Airmont general-purpose x86 cores as well as eight-generation graphics core in Q3 2014 and Willow Trail SoCs powered by Goldmont micro-architecture as well as ninth-generation graphics engine in Q4 2014. Both Cherry Trail and Willow Trail will be made using 14nm process technology. The new SoCs are expected to support both Google Android and Microsoft Windows operating systems.

Intel’s roadmap concerning application processors for smartphones seems to be a little less aggressive than the tablet plans. According to market rumours, Intel’s new Merrifield (22nm) system-on-chips is due in late 2013, whereas Moorefield SoC (22nm) is due in the first half of 2014. The first smartphone app processor from Intel to be made using 14nm process technology is called Morganfield and is due in Q1 2015.

Intel did not comment on the news-story.