According to a report from Forbes, Intel is rapidly improving the production of its 10nm wafers and building new foundries to support the newer 7nm and 5nm nodes. Talking to Dr. Ann B. Kelleher, SVP and GM of Technology Development at Intel, the outlet reported that all of Intel’s fabs in Ireland, Israel, Arizona, and Oregon are running at full capacity and none of them are left idle or underutilized.
Furthermore, the 10nm yields (thanks to the SuperFin design) are improving at a decent pace, with a crossover between 14nm and 10nm volume expected sometime in 2021. As of now, more and more 10nm capacity is being added from the existing 14nm fabs as older lineups are retired and the company preps to finally leave the node behind.
An update on the 7nm roadmap is expected in January next year, but don’t expect any products based on the node from Intel before mid to late 2022, possibly even early 2023. Foundries are being built in Oregon and Ireland to help expand 7nm and 5nm capacity, but these are still in the early stages, so they won’t affect the supply in the early stages.
While Intel maybe painting a pretty picture (relatively speaking) regarding its 10nm yields and capacity, most journalists say otherwise. The majority of industry sources still believe that 10nm yields are still far from sufficient to allow a crossover in 2021. In a world where TSMC has already started shipping its 5nm EUV chips to Apple, Intel still hasn’t migrated its volume products to the 10nm process.
Alder Lake-S and Sapphire Rapids-AP are supposed to be the first volume products in the desktop and server markets built primarily on the 10nm process. Both lineups are expected in late 2021, but if the 10nm yields still aren’t up to the mark, we’re likely going to see limited supply on both fronts.