Intel pushes Broadwell production into early 2014


— 9:19 AM on October 16, 2013

At its Developer Forum in September, Intel demonstrated a 14-nm Broadwell processor in action, and it said the processor was on track to ship by the end of 2013.

That's no longer the case. Speaking to investors during the company's quarterly earnings conference call, Intel revealed that its Broadwell product has been pushed back one quarter. Here's the snippet from SeekingAlpha's transcript:

While we are comfortable with where we are at with yields, from a timing standpoint, we are about a quarter behind our projections. As a result, we are now planning to begin production in the first quarter of next year.

According to Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, the delay is due to a now-resolved "defect density" problem. Krzanich was asked during the Q&A session whether the delay was due to excess Ivy Bridge inventory; he said, "absolutely not," then went on to explain:

It was simply a defect density issue. This was on the issue -- as we develop these technologies, what you are doing? You are continually improving the defect densities and those resulted in the yield, the number of die per wafer that you get out of the product and what happened as you insert a set of fixes in groups, you will put four or five, maybe sometimes six or seven fixes into a process and group it together, run it through and you will expect an improvement rate occasionally as you go through that. The fixes don't deliver all of the improvements [stock], we had one of those.

Why do I have confidence? Because, we have got back now and added additional fixes, gotten back onto that curve, so we have confidence that the problem is fixed, because we have actually data and defects and so that gives us the confidence that we are to keep moving forward now and that happens sometimes in these development phases like this, so that's why we are going to over it a quarter.

Prior to this delay, Broadwell was supposed to become commercially available in 2014. That probably remains true, although Intel didn't mention exactly how the delay will impact availability. Perhaps we'll now have to wait until the spring before seeing Broadwell-powered systems in stores.

In case you missed the memo, Broadwell is the next "tick" in Intel's tick-tock development model: a shrink of the Haswell microarchitecture built on a 14-nm fab process. At IDF, Intel showed that Broadwell can deliver the same performance as a 4.5W Haswell chip while drawing about 30% less power. Based on what we've been hearing from folks in the industry, though, Broadwell may only reach the desktop soldered onto motherboards—not as LGA-packaged processors like Haswell.

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