This week, Intel released news pertaining to its core roadmap for 14nm process technology, along with the new, fifth-generation CPUs (code named "Broadwell") that will be marketed as "Intel® Core M processors." These new technologies are now in volume production. Tablet and Ultrabook devices will be showcased next month at the Consumer Electronics trade fair, IFA Berlin 2014, according to an Intel media brief. More importantly, Intel announced this week that the new line of consumer electronics devices with Core M technology will be available by the 2014 holiday season followed by PCs and servers in 2015.
The new Intel architecture represents advances from both manufacturing process improvements and new microarchitecture. These advances target lower power consumption and reduced thermal output (heat dissipation) demands supporting fanless devices which can then have smaller and thinner forms. Intel highlighted the following advances for these new technologies:
- The combination of the new microarchitecture and manufacturing process will usher in a wave of innovation in new form factors, experiences and systems that are thinner and run silent and cool.
- Intel architects and chip designers have achieved greater than two times reduction in the thermal design point when compared to a previous generation of processor while providing similar performance and improved battery life.
- The new microarchitecture was optimized to take advantage of the new capabilities of the 14nm manufacturing process.
- Intel has delivered the world's first 14nm technology in volume production. It uses second-generation Tri-gate (FinFET) transistors with industry-leading performance, power, density and cost per transistor.
- Intel's 14nm technology will be used to manufacture a wide range of high-performance to low-power products including servers, personal computing devices and Internet of Things.
Growth forecasts still strong
Despite this release from Intel having been delayed for a good year, importantly for Intel, the industry growth is now more squarely centered around IoT, wearables, and servers that support cloud computing, especially. With current market conditions, this is an opportune moment for technology that will directly support the feature demands of low heat dissipation and low power consumption whether in a CE device or for more efficient servers.
Putting the Intel growth opportunity into the context of the wider, global market, the delay in release has not put Intel behind any curves. Recent market news and events continue to support the forecasts for substantial growth during 2014 and forward. Thanks to positive GDP growth, particularly the strengthening US and EU economies, semiconductor and electronics sales are keeping pace with month-on-month and year-on-year increases, such as recently reported by SIA and as discussed in this blog at the close of last week. New strategic pathways for components point to the investment in IoT and wearables as key growth areas along with increased momentum and competition in the lower-priced smart wireless device (SWD) categories for global emerging markets.
The next question is what and how these Core M processors will perform which we will see shortly in Berlin and then during the next quarter and beyond.