Intel's move to 7nm chips punted to 2022 or 2023, ceding more ground to AMD

Dell Xps 13 9300 Intel
Dell Xps 13 9300 Intel (Image credit: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Intel today revealed it has delayed its transition to 7nm chips to late 2022 or early 2023.
  • The delay stems from poor yields, putting the company "approximately 12 months behind" its internal target.
  • Intel expects to launch its first 10nm desktop chips in the second half of 2021.

In its Q2 earnings report today, Intel announced that it has delayed the rollout of its 7nm chips by six months. The company now plans to launch chips based on its 7nm process in late 2022 or early 2023. That's a shift of six months from Intel's previous plans.

"The company's 7nm-based CPU product timing is shifting approximately six months relative to prior expectations," Intel said in its earnings release. "The primary driver is the yield of Intel's 7nm process, which based on recent data, is now trending approximately twelve months behind the company's internal target."

As reported by Tom's Hardware, Intel CEO Bob Swan followed up in the company's earnings call, noting the company "identified a 'defect mode' in its 7nm process." The company has shifted focus to "contingency plans" such as using third-party foundries. Intel also plans to use third-party foundries for its upcoming Ponte Vecchio GPUs.

Aside from its 7nm delay, Intel revealed that it plans to launch its first 10nm "Alder Lake" desktop CPUs in the second half of 2021. Intel's first 10nm "Ice Lake" CPUs arrived in laptops last year. Its upcoming "Tiger Lake" chips, which are also based on a 10nm process, are expected to arrive this fall.

The 7nm delay puts Intel further behind AMD on the process side of things. AMD's latest chips are already built on a 7nm process, and it's likely AMD will have a fair amount of lead time on Intel when its shifts to a 5nm process with its Zen 4 architecture, which is expected to arrive by the end of 2021.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl