For many years now, Intel has been producing its chips yearly on a tick-tock cycle but that strategy appears to be changing going forward as the most recent Intel financial report shows that it will be moving to a new three-step strategy and slowing down the pace of its processor releases. This new three-step strategy is known as PAO or Process, Architecture, Optimization.
This new PAO process will take place with the upcoming Kaby Lake processors and continue on for upcoming 10-nanometer chips.
We already knew that the latest 14-nanometer chips were set to be on a 2.5 year cycle but now the move to 10-nanometer will introduce this new PAO system that slows things down a bit, meaning that significant speed improvements will arrive every three years going forward. This change is a direct result of facing difficulties in transitioning to smaller die sizes and will give Intel more time to develop 10nm.
KitGuru Says: Intel has been using the tick-tock development cycle for a decade now but it seems that the company will need more time to effectively shrink die sizes from now on so while we will still see incremental CPU upgrades, the big performance shifts will come every three years instead of two.