When Intel removed the Ice Lake cover, we found that the CPU performance data was complex. When it comes to the graphics processor, Ice Lake is a huge step forward, with performance far better than anything we've seen before with Intel integrated graphics. The processor, however, was a rather mixed bag. Limited to a TDP of 15 W, Ice Lake processors were not necessarily faster than the Coffee Lake chips that they had to replace and were often a little slower. If you give the processor extra room, the problem is solved – but of course, giving the chip more play power has a negative impact on the heat and battery life.
When Intel invited reviewers to ice lake test, the proposed test systems included a rocker switch to switch envelopes from 15W to 25W. This is how PCMag and other publications have been able to test the laptop in both modes, as shown below:
Users do not usually have this type of option. The TDP ranges are usually predefined by the OEM and can not be changed by the end user for obvious reasons – starting the TDP for laptop is a good way to overheat the system if you do not know not what you do and if the laptop is not specifically designed to operate at a higher power level. To the best of our knowledge (up to today), no consumer notebook could change its TDP values on the fly. In the Ice Lake testing session, Intel told critics that retail Ice Lake laptops would not have this option either.
However, there seems to be at least one exception to this rule. The Razer Blade 13 will have a Adjustable TDP can be configured via the Razer Synapse software. Supposedly, this ability has always existed, dating back to the original Razer blade. If this is true, the company does not seem to have put it forward before. Google does not provide results that reference an adjustable TDP on previous versions of the Razer blade. unless you count the fact that the laptop would slow down the load under certain circumstances. To be clear, the ability to run the processor in an energy-efficient envelope under load is not the same as being able to voluntarily put it in a higher TDP mode and make it work with a additional power reserve.
Given that Intel had already told critics not to expect adjustable TDP ranges to be a major feature for laptops, this begs the question: is it specific to Razer or will we see do more laptop manufacturers take advantage of these new features? Will Intel make adjustable TDPs a feature that high-end customers will be able to buy as they wish?
Razer's website for the new blade indicates that the system will use a 25W Ice Lake processor, but does not mention anything about the fact that the system can be adjusted in a power envelope of 15W instead of 25W.
Wednesday August 7th, AMD launched the 7nm update of his family of Epyc processors. These new hearts are not limited to Intel in one category, they bring huge improvements in each category. AMD has reduced its prices by heart, increased the IPC and promises to provide many more processor cores than an equivalent Intel socket.
It was only another time that AMD nearly defeated Intel so decisively: the introduction of the Opteron dual core and the Athlon 64 X2 in 2005. The launch of Epyc this week seems more important. In 2005, AMD's dual-core processors matched the number of Intel processors, outperformed Intel's core clock and core processors, and were quite expensive. This time, AMD is targeting the trifecta, with higher performance, more cores and lower per-core pricing. This is the most serious attack against the high-end Intel Xeon market, launched by the company.
Industry analysts have already predicted that AMD's server market share could double in the next 12 months, reaching 10% by the second quarter of 2020. A larger share of the data center market is essential objective of AMD. A larger share of the corporate and data center market will not simply increase AMD's revenue, it will help stabilize the company's financial performance. One of AMD's critical weaknesses over the last two decades has been its reliance on low-end PCs and retail channels. Both markets tend to be recession sensitive. The low-end computer market also offers the least revenue per socket and the lowest margins. Business cycles are less affected by slowdowns. AMD briefly achieved its goal of a substantial market share for businesses in 2005-2006, when its market share for servers had broken by 20%.
Fans like to focus on the performance of AMD desktops, but apart from games, overall PC sales are declining. Growth in narrow categories such as 2 in 1 was not enough to offset the overall decline in sales. Although no one expects the personal computer market to fail, it is clear that the 2011 economic downturn was not a shock. AMD still has an interest in fighting to expand its share of the desktop and mobile market, but it makes more So it makes sense to fight for a share of server space, where revenue and unit shipments have increased over the past 8 years. The year 2019 may be a difficult year for server sales, but the general trend of migrating workloads to the cloud shows no signs of slowing down.
In our discussions on Rome, we focused primarily on the Epyc 7742. This graph, derived from ServetheHome, illustrates Epyc's performance against Xeon on more SKUs. Viewing at the bottom of the pile:
A pair of AMD Epyc 7742 costs $ 13,900. A support of 7502 (32C / 64T, base of 2.5 GHz, amplification of 3.35 GHz, $ 2600) is equivalent to $ 5,200. The Intel Xeon Platinum 8260 processor is a $ 4,700 processor, but there are four in the system with the highest score, for a total cost of $ 18,800. AMD processors worth $ 13,900 earn you 1.19 times more performance than Intel processors worth $ 18,800. The comparison does not improve with the falling of the pile. Four E7-8890v4 would cost nearly $ 30,000 at list price. A pair of Platinum 8280 costs $ 20,000. The 8676L is a $ 16,600 processor at list price.
But it's not just the price, or even the price / performance ratio where AMD has an advantage. Intel heavily subdivides the features of its product and bills much more. Consider, for example, the price difference between the Xeon 8276, 8276M and Xeon Platinum 8276L models. These three processors are identical, with the exception of the maximum amount of RAM supported by each. The price, however, is anything but.
In this case, "Maximum Memory" includes Intel Optane. The 4.5 TB RAM memory assumes that 3 TB of Optane is installed next to 1.5 TB of RAM. For comparison, the Rome 7nm processors offer up to 4TB of RAM support. It is a standard feature built into all processors, simplifying product purchases and future planning. AMD not only offers chips at lower prices, it is also interested in Intel's market segmentation method. Good luck justifying a price increase of $ 8,000 for additional RAM support when AMD is ready to sell you a 4 TB addressable capacity at base price.
One of AMD's talking points with Epyc is how it delivers the benefits of a 2S system in a 1S configuration. This table of ServetheHome shows the differences:
The advantage of AMD here is that it can simultaneously hit several Intel weaknesses. Need a lot of PCIe lanes? AMD is better. You want PCIe 4.0? AMD is better. If your workloads evolve optimally with the hearts, no one sells more cores per socket than AMD. Intel can still claim some benefits – it offers L3 unified caches much larger than those of AMD (each AMD L3 cache actually is 16 MB, with a slice of 4 MB per core). But these benefits will be limited to the specific applications that respond to them. Intel wants suppliers to invest in creating support for its persistent Optane DC memory, but nothing is said. how much do it. The current low prices of NAND and DRAM have made Optane's competition on the market much more difficult.
The move to 7nm has given AMD an edge in terms of power consumption, especially when you plan to end the server's life. STH indicates a single-threaded power consumption on a Platinum Xeon 8180 at ~ 430W (wall power), compared to around 340W at the wall for the AMD Epyc 7742 system. They note however that the high number of cores on the latter AMD processors will allow them to remove between 6 and 8 Intel Xeons 2017 sockets (60 to 80 cores) to consolidate workloads into a single AMD Epyc system. The energy savings from removing 3-4 dual-socket servers are well above the difference of about 90 W between the two processors.
Features like DL Boost can give Intel a performance advantage in AI and machine learning, but the company will fight hard. Until now, the data we have seen suggests that these factors can help Intel. match AMD as opposed to beating him.
The catalog prices we quoted for this story are the official prices that Intel publishes for Xeon processors in 1K units. It is also notorious that they are inaccurate, at least as far as major OEMs are concerned. We do not know what Dell, HPE and other vendors actually pay for Xeon processors, but we know that it is often well below the list price, which is usually only paid for by the retail network.
The gap between Intel's list prices and actual prices may explain why Threadripper did not have a lot of market penetration. Despite the fact that Threadripper processors have offered a lot more cores per dollar and better performance per dollar for two years, OEMs sharing sales information, like MindFactory, report very weak sales of Threadripper and Skylake-X. However, Intel has not shown any particular interest in lowering the price of Core X. It continues to position a 10-core Core i9-9820X as a suitable competitor for chips such as the Threadripper 2950X, despite AMD's superior performance in this game. This strongly implies that Intel has no particular problem the sale The 10-core processors to OEM partners who want it, despite Threadripper's superior price / quality ratio and AMD's share of the workstation market, is quite limited.
While Intel has cut its HEDT prices (the Core i7-6950X at 10 cores was worth $ 1723 in 2016, compared to $ 900 for a Core i9-9820X today), it has never tried to make a price / performance comparison against Threadripper. If this bulwark is to collapse, Rome will be the processor that will do it. Ryzen and Threadripper will be considered more credible workstation processors if Epyc begins to penetrate the server market.
Intel can reduce its prices to meet AMD in the short term. In the long term, we will have to challenge AMD directly. This means that more cores will need to be delivered at lower prices, with larger amounts of memory supported by socket. Cooper Lake, which is built on 14nm and includes additional support for new AVX-512 instructions focused on AI, will arrive in the first half of next year. This chip will allow Intel to focus on some of the markets it wants to compete with, but will not change the base count differential between the two companies. Similarly, Intel may have difficulty setting up a $ 3,000 to $ 7,000 premium for the support of 2TB to 4.5TB of RAM, since AMD is willing to take over up to 4TB of memory on each processor socket.
We do not know yet if Intel will increase the number of central servers with Ice Lake servers or what types of designs it will market, but ICL in the servers is in at least a year. By the time the ICL servers are ready for delivery, AMD's EUV 7 nm designs are also ready. After launching the mother of all refreshment cycles with Rome, AMD's challenge over the next 12 to 24 months will be to demonstrate the continued pace of updates and continuous performance improvement. If so, it is truly able to create the kind of stable business market that has been desired for decades.
When AMD launched the dual-core Opteron and its consumer counterpart, the Athlon 64 X2, the company finally felt that come. A little over a year later, Intel launched the Core 2 Duo. AMD spent the next eleven years roaming the wilderness. Later, the leaders would admit that the company had gone out of sight and was distracted by the acquisition of ATI. A series of problems followed.
The simplistic assumption that P4 Prescott was a disaster for which Intel could not recover had proved inaccurate. In the past, attacking Intel has often been likened to hitting a rubber wall with a Sledgehammer (pun intended). Distorting the wall is relatively easy. To destroy it completely is a much more difficult task. AMD may have the best opportunity to take market share in the company it has always had with Epyc 7 nm, but server sharing construction is a slow and cautious process, not a wind sprint. If AMD wants to keep what it builds this time, it has to play its cards differently from 2005-2006.
But that being said, I do not take lightly phrases like "golden age". I use it now. Although I do not make any predictions as to its duration, the 7nm Epyc's debut officially formalized it: welcome to the second golden age of AMD.
AMD's third-generation Ryzen processors have been a resounding success for the company, with all the reports, with excellent performance over Intel's Core processors. There have however been some questions about performance, overclocking and boost frequencies. CPU overclocks on Ryzen are particularly weak and some enthusiasts have noticed that a limited number of cores of their processors reached the targeted boost frequencies.
Tom's Hardware donated to significant deep diving in this question and left with a number of key conclusions. In the past, AMD processors were able to reach their best amplification frequencies on all processor cores. Intel chips are designed in the same way. With Ryzen 3000, apparently, it only takes one core to reach its maximum or near maximum boost frequency. Scheduler updates built into Windows 10 were supposed to speed up power state transitions (which they do), but they also affected workloads specifically to the fastest cores capable of to hit a given clock.
These results may explain why The total overclocking margin on these new Ryzen 7 processors is so low. On the Ryzen 7 3600X, a single processor core proved to be able to reach 4.35 GHz, for example, while other cores of the same chip went to 75-100 MHz less. AMD has not released precise specifications on the frequencies that its cores must be able to achieve to meet its own internal metrics at launch, which means we do not "know" how often these processor cores will work. This is certainly a change from previous parts, where all the cores could be more or less supposed to be able to produce the same amplification frequencies, and this could have implications for overclockers – but that does not matter. does not really change my opinion about the 7 nm AMD. Ryzen CPU If so, I imagine it is a harbinger of the future direction of the industry.
One of the things I've talked about a number of times at ExtremeTech is difficulty of scaling either IPC (instructions per clock, measuring the efficiency of the processor) or the clock speed while the process technology continues to decline. From December 2018 to June 2019, I wrote a number of articles pushing back the different fans of AMD who insisted that the company uses 7 nm to make huge clock jumps over Intel. When we met with AMD at E3 2019, the company's engineers announced that they were waiting for no clock improvements to 7 nm whatsoever at first, and we are very pleased to be able to improve the clocks modestly in the final design.
One of the main difficulties encountered by semiconductor foundries on nodes below and below 7 nm is the increased variability. Increased variation of the parts means the possibility of obtaining a wider "dispersion" on which the cores are able to operate at specific frequency and voltage settings. AMD adapted Adaptive Scaling of Voltage and Frequency In part with Carrizo, because AVFS can be used to control the process variation by more precisely adapting the internal processor voltages to the processor specific requirements. Working with Microsoft to make sure that Windows runs workloads on the most heavily loaded CPU core is not a good idea; it will be a necessary method to extract maximum performance in the future.
Intel's decision to introduce Turbo Boost with Sandy Bridge in 2011 was one of the smartest steps ever taken by the company. Intel engineers have accurately predicted that it will become increasingly difficult to guarantee maximum clocks in all circumstances. It can not be denied that what AMD does here represents a fundamental shift from the approach taken by society in recent years, but it is an attitude that I firmly believe more companies will adopt in the future. Greater variability of silicon will require a response from the software. The whole reason of the industry has changed to the chiplets The whole construction dies on 7nm is considered crazy, considering the way the cost varies depending on the large matrix sizes, as shown in the slide below.
Why switch to AVFS? To decrease the variability. Why switch to chiplets? Reduce manufacturing costs and improve overall efficiencies. Why change the Windows scheduling to take into account the increase frequencies by heart? Ensure that end users receive the full measure of performance for which they pay. It is true that Intel processors can reach boosted frequencies on any core, but that does not mean that this state of affairs was objectively better for the end user. The typical basic redesign of Windows is not a good thing, it's a fact that Paul Alcorn notes in his article. "As a rule of thumb, we would see more frequency jumps interspersed between the cores," writes Alcorn, "largely because of the irrational and seemingly irrational tendency of the Windows scheduler to allocate threads in different hearts on a whim. In the meantime, we know that the boost frequency of the Intel hold still processors depends directly on the number of processor cores loaded. The fact that all processor cores can Achieving higher clocks does not necessarily benefit the end user unless this user is overclocking – and statistically, most computer users do not have one.
But because it is becoming increasingly difficult to gain frequency and improve performance. Manufacturers invest in technologies that leverage the performance of any processor for their own use only. That's why high-end overclocking is slowly dying and was at least the past seven years. AMD and Intel are getting better at providing end users with a limited margin of safety in their products without overclocking because overclocking these processors in a conventional way diverts their power curve so severely. I would not be surprised to discover that AMD had chosen this timing method because it further improved low-power performance compared to launching lower-clocked chips with a more traditional boost boost system.
The old rules of process node transitions and silicon designs have changed. This is the bottom line. I am confident that we will see Intel deploy its own advanced tactics to deal with these issues in the future, as there is no reason to believe that these problems are unique to AMD or TSMC. The adoption of AVFS by AMD, the increasing use of cutting chips in the industry, the expected 7-nm lower clocks that have been transformed into small gain thanks to intelligent engineering – all these questions go in the same direction. meaning. Companies will undoubtedly develop their own solutions, but everyone is dealing with the same set of fundamental problems.
AMD, to his credit, told users that they had to use the latest chipset driver and Windows 1903 update to take advantage of the new scheduler. Involved in the fact that the rhetoric did not do it, it would prevent you from seeing the full impact of Ryzen's improved performance of the third generation. I agree that the company should have disclosed this new binning strategy to the technical press at E3, so that we could detail it during the review.
But does this change my overall assessment of third-generation Ryzen? Not at all. The work that THG has done to explore this issue is quite extensive, but if I rely on my reading of the evolution of process technology in modern manufacturing, I firmly believe that it is good thing. It is the extension of the same trend that led ARM to invent big.Little – namely, the idea that the operating system must be coupled more closely to the underlying hardware, with a better knowledge of the type. processor cores to use for which workloads in order to maximize performance and minimize power consumption.
According to AMD, about 25% of the performance improvements achieved over the past decade have been achieved through better compilers and better energy management. This percentage will probably be even bigger in 10 years. Idle and load energy consumption is now the main enemy of improved silicon performance, and the variability of the silicon process is a major cause of energy consumption. Improving future performance will depend on tools different from those we've been using for a few decades, and one of the likely consequences of this effort is the end of overclocking. Manufacturers can no longer afford to leave performance margins of 10, 20 or 30 percent on the table. These margins represent a significant percentage of the total improvements they can make.
Do these findings have implications for the limited availability on the Ryzen 9 3900X? We do not know. Admittedly, it is possible that both are connected and that AMD has trouble getting performance on the chip. In the end, I stand by what I said in our article about AMD processors earlier in the day – we will give the company a little more time to market the product and revisit the subject in a few weeks. But the processor performance is excellent. Its power consumption, especially if it is associated with an X470 motherboard, is excellent. We are still working on future Ryzen products and have been working with these processors for several weeks. Overall performance and power characteristics are fundamentally sound, and although THG's findings are quite interesting for what they say about AMD's overall strategy and what I believe to be the overall increase in variability in the set of semiconductors, I consider them globally as a confirmation. the direction in which the industry moves. Coping with a higher intrinsic variability of silicon will be one of the main challenges of the 2020s.
I'm hesitant to involve Intel in this conversation because we have not yet seen the latest version of the company's 10 nm process, but it's certainly no coincidence that future mobile processors of the company have sharply reduced the maximum number of Turbo Boosts (4.1 GHz for Ice Lake). , compared to 4.8 GHz for 14 nm Whiskey Lake). Part of this can be explained by the larger graphics core built into Generation 11, but Intel predicted from the start that 14nm ++ would be a better node for high-frequency chips than its initial 10nm process. This is not to say that Intel has adopted AMD's new synchronization method, but it shows that the company is struggling with the same issues of frequency, variation and power consumption, strives to find one's own ideal balance.
The challenges are more and more difficult. There are no more easy wins. The interaction between software and hardware will change in the future as the alternative – give up and go home – is not tenable. This can have spinoffs that affect other aspects of IT, including overclockers and enthusiasts. But that does not change the fact, in the opinion of the critics, that the Ryzen 7 3000 family is a excellent processor set.
The AMD Ryzen 7 3000 family has fallen earlier this week, carrying a heavy blow to the entire stack of high-end products from Intel. The Ryzen 9 3900X destroys the performance of the Core i9-9900K at 500 USD, while the Ryzen 7 3200 USD at 329 USD is slightly faster than the 9900K in most tasks, at 66% of the price. This is not an excellent position for Intel, and the company is definitely considering its own competitive response.
A recently disclosed roadmap claims to show what this response will be. As always, these leaks must be taken with a grain of salt, especially given the unusual nature of some of the predictions made by the slide. There is a new socket that we have never heard of before (LGA 1159), Hyper-Threading is back in the high end (after being removed from all the chips of the 9th generation, except the most high-end ), and supposedly, the new processors are built on "14nm +++", even though Intel has already indicated that it was abandoning this nomenclature. High-end cores also lack IGP, which is not a step that Intel was previously willing to take, except in case of severe need, to improve its performance.
It's not clear if the supposed 10-core chips would have a disabled but present GPU core, or if Intel actually built a totally different die without any processor. The leak also implies that Intel will add Hyper-Threading to the entire stack of products, which the company did not want to do. Finally, this leak discloses the maximum all-in-one increase frequency, the information generally stopped by Intel.
Season this dish well, in other words.
The use of five-digit model numbers is one of the cases of rumors in previous reports, but as the previous one was concerned with moving parts, it was not possible to compare the lists disclosed to check whether they were 'agreement. The TDPs are believable, mainly because the Intel TDPs are derived from the base clock, and the base base clocks here could allow a 10-core chip. The Core i7-9700, for example, is an 8C / 8T CPU with a base clock at 3 GHz in a TDP of 65W. A 2.7GHz 10C / 20T processor in a 65W TDP does not seem impossible based on Intel's already existing product lines.
Intel has never publicly explained why it removed the hyper-threading of its 9th generation processors, Although some speculation was made, this decision was linked to the security flaws reported by Specter and Meltdown that were reported in January 2018. Whatever its reasoning, adding functionality to its 10th generation processors would allow Chipzilla to recover additional performance for a relatively long time. trouble of small power. Hyper-threading is generally supposed to offer additional performance between 1.1x and 1.2x, although some games and other applications actually see a very small penalty when the feature is enabled.
If these leaks are accurate, it would mean a realignment of the entire stack of Intel's competitive products. The addition of Hyper-Threading would give the Core i3 and i5 chips a more powerful jog for attacking the Ryzen 3 and Ryzen 5 families of AMD. Chips such as the Core i3-10350K offer 4C / 8T and a boost of 4.6 GHz for $ 179. The Core i5-10500 (6C / 12T, 3.1GHz base, 4.4GHz all-core boosted) at $ 199 would address the Ryzen 5 3600 (6C / 12T, 3.6GHz base, 4.2GHz boost), also at $ 199.
If this graphic is genuine, it would mean that Intel is taking the fight against AMD seriously for its entire product line. Putting HT back on the Core i7 and adding it for the first time to the Core i3 and Core i5 of the desktop would bring them extra performance at low and midrange speeds. Adding two more cores to the top of the desktop market would give the Core i9-9900K substitute enough power to beat the Ryzen 7 3700X and 3800X. We do not know if such a chip could beat the 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X, not to mention the Ryzen 9 3950X that will arrive in September, but this stack of products – so true – would improve Intel's global competitiveness across the entire product line, not just the high end.
According to rumors, Intel could prepare to significantly reduce the price of its processors, with the upcoming launch of the AMD Ryzen 3000 family. What is less clear is if it represents a real potential outcome or simply wishful thinking.
According to DigiTimes (subscription necessary), Intel could reduce processor prices by up to 15 percent in response to AMD's upcoming Ryzen parts and has already informed motherboard manufacturers of this change. It is possible that Intel will take this step, but judging by the company's actions since AMD introduced Ryzen in 2017, it is rather unlikely.
Intel has taken several important steps to improve its products in the months leading up to the launch of Ryzen. He added hyper-threading to some processors in the Pentium class, and then, with the 8th generation family, increased the number of cores on his various processors. Similarly, the HEDT Skylake family of pieces has increased the number of base pieces at the same price. Intel's six-core and eight-core processors are about half the price they were four to six years ago.
What Intel has not done all this time is actually a reduction of its CPU. the prices as such. Instead, the company simply waited until the time came to introduce a new generation of parts and position the new processors more favorably than the old ones. This allowed Chipzilla to adjust its prices to take into account AMD 's competitiveness without launching into titles such as "Intel could reduce the price of its processor before the launch of Ryzen 3000 by AMD".
Intel does not want to see prices directly because it means you have competition in the first place. Not only that, but the fact that Intel's HEDT components are priced, even in the face of AMD's high performance Threadripper competition, means that the company has not faced much of the current threat of these chips. If users aggressively transferred their workstation purchases from Xeon to TR, Intel would have been forced to react. The fact that he did not suggest that they had not done it.
Intel chief executive Bob Swan has previously admitted that his company expects increased AMD competition in the server market and that gross margins could suffer, which would imply that some price cuts could take place, but not where society would prevail. Currently, the high-end parts of Intel are those where are virtually the essential price differences. An eight-core Intel processor can cost around $ 500 versus $ 300 for an AMD equivalent, but a 16-core AMD processor costs $ 829 on Newegg, while a 16-core Intel Core i9 Skylake X processor costs 1,700. USD. It would take more than 15% of the price to bring the two chips to parity.
Based on Intel's actions to date and its competitive response to Ryzen, we believe the company will reduce its prices as much as necessary. It may not be ready to happen before the launch of the Ryzen 3000 family and may choose to focus on lowering prices on specific SKUs for which it needs to improve its competitiveness rather than significantly reducing costs. At the same time, the room for maneuvering Intel to achieve certain price cuts, at least on some parts, is unclear. We will have to see how Ryzen 7nm parts stand out before saying more.
New rumors are running that Intel may seek Samsung's assistance at 14 nm, although there are also reasons to doubt it. If this is true, it suggests that Santa Clara will remain stuck at 14 nm for a significant amount of time for at least a few games, notwithstanding recent discussions on Ice Lake.
according to SE daily (via Google Translate), Intel and Samsung are in the final stages of trading for additional capacity. Intel would have chosen to work with Samsung rather than TSMC because of concerns regarding the improved competitive performance of Huawei and AMD. TSMC stated that it thought it could continue to manufacture chips for Huawei, and that it allegedly prompted Intel to prefer Samsung as a partner, due to the possibility that new business decisions regarding retaliation would be taken against companies that do business with Huawei.
I do not want to go so far as to say that it's wrong, but the chronology seems extremely compressed. Negotiations on smelting capacity between two large companies will not be negotiated in a weekend, and the US government total blockade Huawei is still quite new. In addition, taking action against TSMC for believing that it could continue to manufacture systems on a chip for Huawei would, in some respects, be excessive. Huawei is facing enormous problems in bringing its products to market for reasons that have nothing to do with its ability to supply SoC. Even with perfect support for the smelter, its manufacturing supply chain is threatened in an existential way, not to mention its access to software and support tools.
The idea that Intel would choose to use a smelter other than its main competitor, AMD, possible Intel could be sensitive to the idea that it was passed, hat in hand, to the same company that supplies its competitors. The partnership with Samsung – whose 14nm node is generally in excellent condition and has been used for AMD hardware at GlobalFoundries after GF fired it many years ago – is a little less direct.
The biggest reason to look down on this rumor is that it suggests that Intel would launch at 14 nm the competitor "Rocket Lake" on silicon Samsung. In the past, Intel had signed agreements with TSMC for the production of Atom processors or chipsets (as is often said). Building "big hearts" in a rival foundry would be a major change. That's one of the reasons I do not want to weigh heavily in this rumor, but there's a way to make sense of this rumor.
One of the difficulties associated with setting up a new process in an existing plant is the disruption of ongoing production. If you want to replace a capacity of 14 nm by 7 nm, you may have to disable the lines to perform the upgrades. To do this, Intel has always operated its production lines in tight rates, but we know that the demand for 14 nm has been extremely high. Just last year, Intel announced the allocation of additional funds to boost production of 14 nm. At the same time, the long 10-nm delay has plagued Intel's installations. The company expects a relatively fast switchover to 7nm (production being scheduled by 2021), which means that it needs a fairly fast volume rollout at a time when demand for 14 nm can already be very busy.
If this rumor is true, it may be true to the extent that Intel has reached an agreement with Samsung to operate certain products from its own factories while aggressively upgrading its own factories. The company undoubtedly wants to restore the story of the supremacy of the process that it had 20 years before its 10 nm slide and it might prefer to run at 7 nm by taking advantage of the production of a competitor rather than conducting it alone.
The Daily SE suggests another reason why Intel and Samsung could conclude this type of agreement: prices. From the story:
The Samsung smelter recently announced that it had submitted to TSMC an unexpected unit price of 60% for some companies. Samsung has offered TSMC a complete set of less expensive masks than the "multi-layer mask" (MLM) set up to reduce low-volume production costs. A mask is a kind of film used to draw a circuit on a wafer.
While the dramatic cost reductions we've heard about were 7nm, it's quite possible that Samsung and Intel will also reach a 14nm agreement. Samsung Foundry will probably be hungry for customers and build for Intel would be a prestigious victory. Intel (again, assuming this rumor is accurate) would obviously want a good deal for the products and could find Samsung more acceptable than TSMC – or simply worry about more prosaic issues regarding parts availability.
At the present time, Intel has given limited windows to its 10-nm and 7-nm roadmaps. The company said that 10nm ++ and 7nm would overlap in 2021 and that it would result in a 7nm GPU. Deliveries of Ice Lake in notebooks are expected to begin in June, and volume shipments by the end of the year. No timeline has been provided for office rooms and roadmaps that have leaked (which may not be accurate) indicate that 14 nm hang on the desk until 2020. With the launch of 7 nm by AMD in a few weeks, the hike risks Intel.
Updated (18/06/2019): There is reason to believe that if such an agreement is concluded – and nothing has yet been publicly announced – it could be the same type of contiguity products that Intel has sometimes put to the point with partners before. This type of allocation is the kind of maneuver we expect from Intel while trying to maximize the in-house manufacturing of the highest margin parts with limited foundry space.