Intel Corp INTC.O said on Thursday its new 7-nanometer chip technology was six months behind schedule and it would consider farming out more work to outside semiconductor foundries, eroding a founding principle that manufacturing is key to its success. That means pushing 7nm production back to late 2022 or early 2023. Originally due in 2015, the first Intel 10nm chips didn't hit the market until the end of 2019. But rival AMD is already selling 7nm laptop chips based on its "Zen 2" architecture that have received high marks from reviewers for performance and energy efficiency.
However, there is some good news on the 10nm front.
The company's 7nm-based CPU product timing is shifting approximately six months relative to prior expectations.
In the second quarter, Intel expanded its 10th Gen Intel Core processor lineup with the launch of new Core S and H series processors for desktop and mobile gaming as well as the new 10th Gen Intel Core vPro processors, which deliver uncompromised productivity and hardware-based security features for commercial PCs, said the vendor.
Intel had a notoriously hard time moving from 14nm to 10nm chips. As recently as April, Intel insisted everything was fine with the forthcoming 7nm processors. But we still don't have consumer laptops or desktops with 10nm chips, aside from the processors with Iris Pro Graphics. "We've seen this movie before", said Swan. Based on what Intel said in its earnings call, it's possible.
"We believe Intel has zero-to-no chance of catching/ surpassing TSM (AMD partner).at least for the next half decade, if not. ever", Rolland wrote in a note to clients.
But will 7nm be a strong node? In other words, the company is still not able to produce 7nm chips in an "economically viable way", according to TomsHardware.
In such a scenario, losing the competitive advantage could actually be disastrous for Intel.
Intel's memory business (NSG) set a new revenue record in the quarter, and Intel's portfolio for 5G network infrastructure gained customer momentum, most notably the 10nm-based Intel Atom P5900 for wireless base stations.