Intel denies rumor it's skipping 10nm desktop CPUs to focus on 7nm (Updated)

(Image credit: Intel)

As expected, Intel told us it does not comment on rumors or speculation when we reached out to the company for comment and further clarification. However, we heard from a reliable source that Intel's 10nm desktop plans absolutely include standalone CPUs, not just ones bound for NUCs, and "pretty cool ones" at that.

Original story:
Despite a recent rumor to the contrary, Intel is not skipping the desktop with its 10-nanometer CPU plans, the Santa Clara chip maker has confirmed. What exactly that entails, however, remains to be seen.

News of Intel scrapping its 10nm CPU plans on the desktop and stretching out its 14nm technology until its 7nm parts arrive in 2022 spread after German site HardwareLUXX posted the rumor. Saying it had received information about Intel's plans from "insider circles," the site reported Intel decided to shift its desktop focus to 7nm manufacturing after its 10nm Ice Lake desktop processors fell short of desired clockpseeds.

That was the gist of the piece based on a Google translation, anyway. The rumor was picked up by other sites, though our friends at Toms Hardware obtained a statement from Intel indicating 10nm chips are still bound for the desktop.

"We continue to make great progress on 10nm, and our current roadmap of 10nm products includes desktop," Intel said.

What made the rumor somewhat plausible is the long road Intel has taken to 10nm. We can pretty much forget about seeing Canon Lake CPUs at this point, and instead, Intel finally debuted 10nm hardware in volume over the summer with its Ice Lake launch, albeit so far only in mobile form—there are 11 Ice Lake processors, spanning the 2-core/4-thread Core i3-1000G1to the 4-core/8-thread Core i7-1068G7.

On the desktop, Intel will eventually launch it Comet Lake CPUs, though those will be yet another iteration of 14nm on the core Skylake architecture. The questions of when 10nm will arrive on the desktop and in what form have yet to be answered.

Intel's statement to our sister site offers minimal clarity on the subject. Launching a 10nm CPU in a NUC device would technically qualify as a desktop launch, and Intel could stop there without defying its statement. I've reached out to Intel for clarification, and specifically whether its 10nm desktop plans still include standalone processors, not just chips bound for the NUC. I'll update this article if and when I get a response.

In the meantime, check out our primer on Intel's CPU roadmap as we know it, including all the 'Lakes' from 14nm to 7nm.

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).