Intel's 10nm Cannon Lake CPUs won't arrive in mass quantities until 2019

Image from Intel. Click for original.

Image from Intel. Click for original.

(Image: © Intel)

The closer we get to Cannon Lake, Intel's next major processor update that die shrinks production to 10 nanometers, the further it seems to slip away. Unfortunately, that is the case once again—Intel announced today that it won't be shipping 10nm processors in high volume this year, and instead is now targeting 2019.

Intel revealed the updated time frame while discussing its first quarter earnings, in which the company collected a record $16.1 billion in revenue, a healthy 13 percent year-over-year jump, along with a 50 percent increase in profit to $4.5 billion.

"Coming off a record 2017, 2018 is off to a strong start. Our PC business continued to execute well and our datacentric businesses grew 25 percent, accounting for nearly half of first-quarter revenue," said Brian Krzanich (PDF), Intel CEO. "The strength of Intel’s business underscores my confidence in our strategy and the unrelenting demand for compute performance fueled by the growth of data."

Intel is on solid footing, in other words, though pesky challenges remain in manufacturing its next-generation 10nm parts. Krzanich acknowledged as much during an earnings call, attributing the delay to difficulties in getting 10nm yields to where they need to be. So rather than push to ship 10nm in volume this year, Intel is giving itself some additional time to sort things out.

Pat Moorhead, principal analyst at Moore Insights, told PCWorld that he was happy with Intel's decision.

"I was glad to see Intel reset 10nm shipment expectations to volumes in 2019 and believe in the future Intel will try to decouple transistors and nodes from shipping products and really lean into advanced packages," Moorhead said.

It should also be noted that Intel is actually shipping 10nm products right now, but in low volume. The significance there is that Intel is able to manufacture 10nm processors, but has more work to do before it can ship Cannon Lake and other 10nm CPUs in volume. In the meantime, Intel plans to continue optimizing its 14nm product lines.