Intel to start making ‘Skylake’ microprocessors next year

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Intel Corp. said this week that despite the delay that occurred to mass production of the code-named Broadwell microprocessor, the company is on-track to start manufacturing of chips based on the all-new next-generation micro-architecture known as Skylake in 2015.

“We have a lot going on, the ramp of Broadwell, the ramp of Skylake in the second half of next year,” said Brian Krzanich, chief executive officer of Intel, during a quarterly conference call with financial analysts and investors.

Intel’s code-named Skylake family of microprocessors is based on the brand-new microarchitecture and will be the second lineup of chips that Intel will produce using the 14nm fabrication process.

intel ireland semiconductor chip fab 1 1024x693 Intel to start making ‘Skylake’ microprocessors next year

Intel’s Tick Tock model implies that the world’s largest chipmaker produces chips based on proven micro-architecture using a brand-new process technology and makes chips featuring all-new micro-architecture using a proven manufacturing process. This not only ensures maximum yields achieved in a limited amount of time by allowing Intel to tweak either production technology or chip design, but not both at the same time.

For example, the Broadwell micro-architecture is largely based on Haswell, so the structure of the upcoming chips is well-known. As a result, Intel managed to fairly easily maximize yields of the Broadwell by tweaking 14nm manufacturing technology. By the time the company starts to manufacture the Skylake, the 14nm fabrication process will be perfect and the chipmaker will only have to tweak the design of the processors to ensure good and stable output of chips.

intel ireland semiconductor chip fab Intel to start making ‘Skylake’ microprocessors next year

Not a lot is known about Intel’s Skylake in general. It is rumoured that mainstream desktop and notebooks chips based on the Skylake micro-architecture will sport four x86 cores, a high-performance integrated graphics engine, a bunch of special-purpose accelerators and a DDR4 memory controller. Various Skylake microprocessors will support such technologies as AVX 3.2 (512-bit instructions), SHA extensions (SHA-1 and SHA-256, secure hash algorithms), MPX (memory protection extensions), ADX (multi-precision add-carry instruction extensions) and other innovations.

With Skylake, the DDR4 memory is going to become mainstream on the client PC market since it will be the only type of DRAM supported by the chips.

Skylake is going to be succeeded by the code-named Airlake or Cannonlake chips made using 14nm fabrication process roughly two years after the introduction.

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KitGuru Says: Although Intel is on-track to start production of Skylake-based client microprocessors in the second half of 2015, it should be noted that actual chips will likely reach the market only in early 2016. In short, we are still nearly two years away from Skylake.

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