Normally, Intel launches one new microprocessor every year. But Intel is quietly signalling that PCs shipped during the holiday 2017 season could feature one of two new designs, using either its aging 14nm process or the upcoming 10nm technology.
The two new names to add to your Intel vocabulary include Cannon Lake, a 10nm chip that Intel showed off at CES last month, and an unnamed fourth-generation 14nm chip that some are referring to as Coffee Lake. The latter chip is perhaps the most interesting, as it would extend Intel’s 14nm chips to a record four generations, following Broadwell, Skylake, and the current Kaby Lake chip.
When Intel added a third 14nm chip 2015, signalling the end of the company’s vaunted “tick-tock” manufacturing process, the industry freaked out. A fourth, then, would be absolutely unprecedented. But Intel already seems to be setting the stage to convince investors and customers that it can manufacture four straight generations of chips on the same 14-nm process without giving up consistent performance improvements—which is what customers care about, after all.
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