We have not forgotten about Cannon Lake, the elusive architecture that perhaps has already launched in a parallel universe. In the one we reside in, however, delays have pushed back the release of Cannon Lake, and now there is chatter that it might not launch anytime soon. Drats!
The good news is Intel has not forgotten about Cannon Lake, either. To prove it, the company showcased a Cannon Lake wafer at its Technology Manufacturing Day yesterday in China. It was the first time that a Cannon Lake wafer has been on display.
Intel also took the opportunity to talk about how much better its 10-nanometer process is versus other 10nm technologies—a full generation ahead, according to Intel. But one thing Intel did not discuss is exactly when we will finally see Cannon Lake CPUs.
Take this with a grain of salt, but according to Digitimes, Intel has rescheduled the launch of its Cannon Lake lineup until the end of 2018. Given the repeated delays, Digitimes claims that some vendors are even considering skipping over Cannon Lake and waiting for Ice Lake. We find that unlikely, but it's been thrown out there.
Getting to 10nm has not been easy. This is the reason why Intel abandoned its traditional tick-tock release cadence that guided its processor design for nearly a decade. As a result, we have Coffee Lake to fill the gap (which is technically the second gap-filling product, after Kaby Lake was the 'optimization' of Skylake). What remains to be seen is if Intel will release yet another 14nm architecture between now and when Cannon Lake arrives, if in fact it has been delayed until late next year.
Interestingly, Intel as recently as June went on record saying Cannon Lake was "on track" and that it has "taped in Ice Lake." At the time, it was assumed that Intel meant we'd see Cannon Lake by the end of this year, as leaked roadmaps suggested.
Whenever Cannon Lake arrives, Intel promises it will be the most advanced 10nm technology in existence with the world's tightest transistors and metal pitches.
After running this story, Intel reached out to us with a statement on where it's at with Cannon Lake.
"We'll be shipping our first 10nm products near the end of the year beginning with a lower volume SKU followed by a volume ramp in the first half of 2018," an Intel spokesperson said.
It looks like Cannon Lake may be on track, after all.