Intel’s next generation chip plans: Ice Lake and a slow 10nm transition

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Intel has given an unusual insight into the road ahead for its mainstream desktop and laptop processors, confirming the existence of a new processor family called Ice Lake.

Once upon a time, the company planned to follow up Skylake, built on a 14nm process, with Cannon Lake, built on a 10nm process and shipping in late 2016. But that plan was derailed. The 14nm process took longer than expected to bed down and start working properly. Our understanding is that Intel moved engineers that were developing 10nm to help with fixing 14nm. This had a few knock-on effects. First, it required Intel to produce additional designs built on 14nm: last year's Kaby Lake uses the second-generation 14nm+ process, and this year's Coffee Lake will use a third-generation 14nm++ process.

Second, it delayed 10nm. 10nm parts aren't now expected until 2018, when Cannon Lake finally materializes. The newly confirmed Ice Lake will use a second-generation 10nm process, 10nm+.

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