Intel Brushes Aside Rumor of 14nm ‘Broadwell’ Delay – PC Magazine
Intel on Thursday brushed aside a rumor that it is again delaying the release of its first 14-nanometer processors code named Broadwell.
The rumor came from DigiTimes, which reported earlier this week that the first chips based on Intel’s new 14nm architecture would be delivered to computer makers in “limited volumes in the fourth quarter” instead of in the third quarter, as the tech site claimed Intel had been planning.
Last October, Intel revealed that it had delayed the volume production
of Broadwell chips from the end of 2013 to this year due to a “defect density issue” with the 14nm process node.
In its latest statement on the matter, Intel said production of the next-generation Broadwell line will begin by the end of this quarter, with delivery of product to its OEM partners scheduled for “later this year.”
Intel has demonstrated working Broadwell chips, but it’s not clear if Intel ever promised delivery of 14nm product to OEM partners in a specific quarter after announcing the technical delay to production last year. DigiTimes appeared to be relying on claims from unnamed “upstream supply chain” sources that Intel gave them a specific release timeframe for Broadwell beyond just “later this year,” which may or may not be the case.
On Thursday, an Intel spokesman reiterated what the company said during a January earnings call about the prospects for Broadwell and emphasized that there had been “no change in what we’ve said.”
“We continue to make progress with the industry’s first 14nm manufacturing process and our second generation 3D transistors,” Intel said during its earnings call on Jan. 16. “Broadwell, the first product on 14nm, is up-and-running as we demonstrated at the Intel Developer Forum in Q3 2013. We’re now planning to begin production this quarter with shipments to customers later this year.”
So that would appear to be that with regards to this rumor. Still, it’s worth exploring the supposed reason behind the rumored Broadwell delay, as reported by DigiTimes.
The tech site reported that only “only U- and Y-series models will be available initially” and not until the final quarter of 2014, while “Pentium and Celeron models will be released in the first quarter of 2015.”
The interesting part is that DigiTimes did not claim there was another glitch or any other technical reason for the rumored delay. Instead, Intel is supposedly hanging back on releasing Broadwell due to “the slow digestion of Haswell processor inventories in the market,” according to the tech site.
If so, analyst and former Intel employee Ed McKernan said such a decision could make sense.
“It is unlikely in Intel’s history to hold back from launching new processors on a new process technology, regardless of the yield. The ASPs of the new processors typically are very high, and deliver gross margins that pay off even when the yield is low. Also, it was always necessary to launch a new CPU in a timely fashion to keep the treadmill running in order to stay ahead of AMD,” McKernan wrote on Seeking Alpha.
But with the “threat of AMD … gone” as Intel’s rival shifts towards graphics-based client solutions, Intel now has some more leeway as to when to ramp the successor to its 22nm Hawell products, he said.
“Intel could very easily stretch out its current 22nm Haswell for quarters and not see a downturn in PC market share, all the while increasing manufacturing margin,” McKernan said.