Intel to Split Manufacturing Group into Three Segmentsby Ian Cutress on October 17, 2018 11:25 AM EST
- Posted in
News today from OregonLive, a reputable source on news out of Intel, has posted that Intel is set to reorganize its manufacturing group. Spurred by the retirement of Sohail Ahmed next month, who has led the group since 2016, the Technology and Manufacturing Group will be split between the Technology Development, Manufacturing and Operations, and the Supply Chain.
Intel’s delays in its 10nm process technology have been extensively discussed, although the reasons behind it have rarely been aired in public. The process technology was originally set to have been in production in 2016, and although Intel officially ‘shipped for revenue’ an obscure 10nm part in 2017, we are still waiting on the 10nm process to hit the primetime. Normally we expect to see a new major manufacturing process every 18-36 months, however the difficulties Intel has faced by attempting to implement a raft of new features down at the 10nm level have proved bigger than expected.
After the retirement of Ahmed, the full three groups will be headed up by different managers already at Intel:
- Technology Development, to be led by CTO Mike Mayberry*
- Manufacturing and Operations, led by Ann Kelleher
- Supply Chain, led by Randhir Thakur
*Mike Mayberry was the head of Intel Labs. Rich Uhlig will be the new interim manager for Intel Labs.
How the three groups will work together has not yet been determined. As this is still during the transition to 10nm, there could be additional challenges in splitting the groups. This is also on the back of Intel still not having a CEO, after Krzanich was removed earlier this year. Given Intel’s predicted six-month search for a new CEO, we should be hearing about it soon.
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Targon - Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - linkSo, Intel felt comfortable with virtually no improvements for the past four years until AMD released Ryzen and TSMC was on the verge of getting 7nm fully up to speed. That is when stock holders and the executives freaked out, demanded an explanation for the lack of any progress, and heads started to roll. This really has been entertaining to watch over the past twelve months since Intel executives started to freak out with no plans having been in place.
HStewart - Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - linkI think there is a confusion between Node development and actually functionality development.
shabby - Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - linkBoth have stalled.
Targon - Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - linkDesign improvements are where IPC improvements come from, adding useful functionality as well. Since IPC has not been improving at Intel, that implies the design stuff hasn't been happening. Fab process improvements would help with higher clock speeds, but those have not really improved in the past four years or so(their solution was to replace TIM with solder to see the true potential of the chips, which were artificially limited by the TIM in the first place. A delid shows that to be the case).
As I said, no real improvements for the past four years at Intel, not even a core count increase. Ryzen came out, and suddenly you have Intel increasing core counts, but IPC is stil stuck.
KAlmquist - Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - linkThe last time Intel was facing serious competition from AMD, Intel came up with the tick-tock approach. The point of the tick tock approach was to spend a bit more on development costs in order to reduce the damage when things went wrong. It worked as intended when Intel ran into trouble with its 14nm process. Broadwell (the shrink of Haswell from 22nm to 14nm) barely happened, but Skylake made it out more or less on time. But the 14nm delay broke tick-tock going forward because even if Intel could go from 14nm to 10nm in the two year time frame assumed by tick-tock, that would still make 10nm a year late. The low risk choice for Intel would be to develop a 14nm version of Ice Lake. This would have cost money but would have ensured that Ice Lake would not be delayed even if 10nm ran into problems. I can only suppose that after seeing AMD come out with Bulldozer and Global Foundries struggles to develop new nodes, Intel figured the risk-adverse approach that led to tick-tock was no longer necessary. Then AMD came out with Zen, built on a process that Global Foundries licensed from Samsung, and Intel is scrambling.
Santoval - Saturday, October 20, 2018 - link"Since IPC has not been improving at Intel, that implies the design stuff hasn't been happening."
We already know that, nothing needs to be "implied" : Intel has retained the exact same design since Skylake was released. The exceptions are their HEDT CPUs, where they quadrupled the L2 cache, reduced the L3 cache and added an AVX512 block, and Cannon Lake, which is the Skylake at 10nm plus an AVX512 block.
However Cannon Lake (and 10nm) looks like it is going to be skipped, since Intel intends to release Ice Lake in late 2019, from top-mainstream to bottom. Ice Lake is their first new design since Skylake and will also be fabbed at 10nm+, which is an optimized 10nm node with many fixes on top from what they learnt from trying to fab and increase the yields of 10nm CPUs. So, in effect, Cannon Lake will remain a beta CPU and 10nm a beta node.
Ice Lake should be fast though. It will be fabbed at their 2nd gen 10nm+ node, it will be a new architecture, it will have one or two AVX512 blocks, probably a new cache hierarchy, perhaps a new inter-core link, and possibly a redesigned front-end and back-end. Will Intel manage to release it in high volume in late 2019 though, or will it slip into 2020?
0ldman79 - Tuesday, October 23, 2018 - linkCannon Lake has AVX512.
Ian Cuttress did some testing, not sure if he wrote an article but he definitely talked about it on Twitter.
wumpus - Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - linkIt looks like all of Intel's plans were "and 10nm will be ready". Unfortunately, nobody cared about keeping the really good process guys needed to make sure 10nm was ready.
It looks like they weren't surprised it was late, but had no idea they would be here. Now they are just rearranging the deckchairs and hoping that a miracle in the 10nm fabs will occur.
Eletriarnation - Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - linkIt's fun to dunk on the king, but I think it's more likely that Intel encountered actual technical difficulties with 10nm than that they just decided to fire everyone who knew anything about how to do it.
peevee - Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - linkThey might not have fired them - instead they did not retain them against offers from Samsung, TSMC etc (on the process side)/Apple, Qualcomm etc (on the arch side), and instead have hired a bunch of "politically correct" hires. Even if everybody would be retained, simply hiring bad people hurts team performance all by itself.
I would not be surprised if they played with offshoring to countries which never produced anything competitive, which have hurt every company which tried it.