Intel has moved quickly to counter speculation that its 10nm chips could be pushed back again, after previously delaying the introduction of the first silicon from this year to the second half of 2017.
The chipmaker had planned to introduce its first generation of 10nm processors sometime in late 2016. However, technical difficulties in shrinking transistors down to ever smaller scales led to the launch being delayed until the second half of 2017.
Speculation about a further delay was sparked by a recent job vacancy posted on Intel's website. The listing was spotted by journalists at investor website The Motley Fool and seemed to imply that Intel would not start mass production of 10nm components until two years after the posting date.
This would not seem to be much of an issue, but Intel perhaps considered that rumours of further delays would be bad for publicity, and has responded by contacting the site with a statement that the job listing was incorrect, and reaffirming that the first 10nm products are still scheduled for delivery in the second half of 2017.
Intel's original plan was for the first 10nm chips to be a die-shrink of the current 14nm Skylake processor family, known as Cannonlake. Skylake introduced a new microarchitecture to the established 14nm production process, representing a 'tock' in Intel's 'tick-tock' development model. Cannonlake would then introduce an established architecture to a new production process.
However, Intel announced in the middle of last year that, owing to delays in the development of the 10nm process, Skylake will be succeeded by an additional 14nm generation called Kaby Lake, and Cannonlake has been pushed out to 2017.
"In the second half of 2016 we plan to introduce a third 14nm product, codenamed Kaby Lake, built on the foundations of the Skylake micro-architecture but with key performance enhancements. Then in the second half of 2017, we expect to launch our first 10nm product, codenamed Cannonlake," Intel chief executive Brian Krzanich said at the time.
Despite problems with ever shrinking transistor sizes, Intel has said previously that it expects Moore's Law to continue for the foreseeable future, and is actively working on 7nm and 5nm technologies.
"We can see about 10 years ahead, so our research group has identified some promising options [for 7nm and 5nm] not yet fully developed, but we think we can continue Moore's Law for at least another 10 years," said Intel senior fellow Mark Bohr in a briefing last year.
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