Intel promised that they will release a 10 nm process a while ago, but we are still waiting.
It looks like Cannon Lake will be delayed up to next year, and it will be replaced with Whiskey Lake. So instead of seeing a massive change from 14 nm to 10 nm and possibly some big performance improvements, Whiskey Lake will only bring the usual 10-15% performance improvement we’re used to seeing.
We don’t have many details on Whiskey Lake as of yet. Its existence was first reported by Motley Fool back in December 2017, and Krzanich yesterday largely confirmed that initial report. CPUs based on the Whiskey Lake microarchitecture will have a minimum of 4 CPU cores and 2 GPU cores and they’ll be implemented using a 14nm process. Intel first announced a 14nm CPU way back in 2013, and has effectively been on some iteration of the process since later 2014.
Okay, but does it really need to be smaller?
Well, a smaller process, or node, means that the components inside the CPU are closer together. This means that the communication inside is faster and requires less power. This is why smaller nodes mean more performance and more efficiency. However, packing more stuff into a smaller package is not easy. And it seems Intel is having a lot of issues with that.
Keller is leaving Tesla for Intel, but before that he worked at AMD, where he was one of the chief architects of the highly successful Zen architecture, and before that at Apple he did the same kind of magic to create Apple’s first internally developed CPUs for the iPhone and iPad. The guy is good, and if anyone can help Intel with its die-shrink problems, it’s Keller.