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Intel's 7nm Chips Delayed At Least Until 2022 Or 2023

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Intel Corp. said it is delaying seven-nanometer or 7nm CPUs until at least 2022 or 2023 after identifying a "defect mode" in the process.

The company said it now expects to see initial production shipments of first Intel-based seven-nanometer product, a client CPU, in late 2022 or early 2023.

However, the company is accelerating its transition to 10nm products this year with increasing volumes and strong demand.

In its second-quarter earnings release, the Santa Clara, California-based company noted that its 7nm-based CPU product timing is shifting approximately six months relative to prior expectations. According to the firm, the primary driver is the yield of the process, which is now trending around twelve months behind the company's internal target.

On the earnings call, Intel CEO Bob Swan said, "We have identified a defect mode in our seven-nanometer process that resulted in yield degradation. We've root caused the issue, and believe there are no fundamental roadblocks."

Swan further said that the company has sought contingency plans, including using third-party foundry, to hedge against further schedule uncertainty.

The company added that the impact of the process delay on its product schedules will be mitigated by leveraging improvements in design methodology such as die disaggregation and advanced packaging.

Further, Intel said its data center GPU design, Ponte Vecchio, will now be released in late 2021 or early 2022, utilizing external and internal process technologies.

Intel's major chip client Apple Inc. in late June had announced its plan to replace chips from Intel in Mac computers with its own processors, Apple silicon, by the end of the year. The decision to make the shift reportedly was taken after Intel's annual chip performance gains slowed and noting that sticking to Intel's road map would delay or derail some future Macs.

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