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Leo Says Ep.48 – Intel 7nm sounds AWFUL

We've been hearing a lot about Intel's attempts to move on from its ageing 14nm process technology. Issues surrounding its 10nm process have been reported on for a couple of years already, and now new information has surfaced on the company's apparent struggles with 7nm. You can bet our grumpy hero, none other than Leo Waldock, has a lot to say on the matter…

Leo's notes:

Linus and his XMP video. Overclocking Core i9-10900K delivers limited returns so restricting DDR4 speed on chipsets below Z490 looks like a kick in the teeth for Intel’s enthusiast customers.

Intel’s recent financial call was a bit of an eye opener

Bob Swan is ‘not pleased with our 7nm process performance’. Intel 7nm is 12 months behind schedule, which will delay 7nm products by 6 months. A few days later Bob Swan reorganised Intel’s structure and Murthy Renduchintala, the Boss of 7nm, found he no longer had a job.

10nm has been a slow rolling, on-going disaster and now 7nm seems to be going the same way. According to a source for Jim at Adored TV ‘7 is looking worse than 10.’

Intel is due to ship Aorora Supercomputer in 2021 using Sapphire Rapids and Ponte Vecchio.

Intel stated that Ponte Vecchio Xe graphics would be made on 7nm. Ponte Vecchio is due to ship late 2021 or early 2022 which sounds like 7nm will start shipping too late for Aurora. It sounds like Aurora will be getting the very first Ponte Vecchio graphics so let’s hope they work correctly.

KitGuru: Is the hardware for Aurora still Sapphire Rapids and Ponte Vecchio?
Intel: Aurora is built on Sapphire Rapids and Ponte Vecchio. Sapphire Rapids is a next generation, 10nm-based Xeon Scalable Processor that will offer advances in performance, AI, and other areas. Sapphire Rapids will be the CPU used in the Aurora Exascale supercomputer system at Argonne National Lab. It will continue our strategy of built-in AI acceleration with a new accelerator called Advanced Matrix Extensions (AMX). We expect to start initial production shipments of Sapphire Rapids in the second half of 2021. Our data center GPU design, “Ponte Vecchio”, will now be released in late 2021 or early 2022 utilizing external and internal process technologies combined with our world-leading packaging technologies.

If Intel cannot deliver 10nm Ice Lake Server at the end of 2020, and Intel 7nm is truly even worse than 10nm, it is entirely possible they will have permanently stalled on process. We have seen Glo Flo get stuck at 12nm and the usual thing is that once a company gets stuck there is no way back. In Intel's case moving on from Skylake to to Sunny Cove, Willow Cove and Golden Cove even if it is on 14nm should bring substantial benefits so failing at 10nm and 7nm is far from good but might not be the end of the road for PC enthusiasts and gamers.

Intel 11th Gen Rocket Lake with Willow Cove architecture, PCIe Gen 4 and Core i9 with 8C/16T. The rumour is that 11th Gen Core i7 will have with 8 cores and 12 threads. The fact it will be on 14nm is, relatively speaking, a mere detail.

Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake with DDR5, Golden Cove architecture and a combination of 8 desktop cores and 8 Atom cores. In Hybrid mode it seems Hyper Threading will be disabled. If Alder Lake is going to use 10nm Intel needs to get its house in order right now, otherwise we shall be seeing yet another 14nm desktop CPU.

KitGuru says: Be sure to let us know your thoughts and if you agree (or disagree) with Leo. Love him, or hate him – he says it, cause he means it!

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