Intel has taken an unprecedented step in revealing the name of its post-eighth generation processors. Ice Lake chips will be build on the 10nm+ process, which is something that won’t surprise those who are already aware of how Intel works.
The (presumably) ninth generation Ice Lake processors will follow the first round of 10nm chips in Cannon Lake. And will hopefully represent a bit of a convergence point for Intel’s processor market. Thing’s get a little confusing during the switch from 14nm++ to 10nm.
The current – seventh – generation of Intel Core processors is codenamed Kaby Lake, and will be replaced by Coffee Lake. This takes Intel’s manufacturing nomenclature from 14nm+ to 14nm++.
However, laptops in 2018 should be seeing the 10nm Cannon Lake processors. These are apparently not coming to Intel powered desktops; which will have to wait until Ice Lake to see 10nm-base chips. Nobody is entirely sure of why Intel is taking this path. Anandtech speculates that it may have something to do with the company’s manufacturing yields.
The move to 10nm chips has been delayed by over a year. Intel has had to extend it’s traditional tick-tock development cycle to accommodate problems with manufacturing the smaller transistors. It’s likely that the yields are below what Intel considers acceptable for mass production. A problem that exists when you realise that building microprocessors is more of an art than a science.