Intel held its annual investors meeting yesterday and took the opportunity to release a few details on future strategy, as reported by Anandtech. First of all, in line with Tick/Tock, Intel has confirmed that it will be marketing products engraved at 14nm in 2014. This isn’t really news as a factory dedicated to the 14 nm process is already under construction, as we reported in February. What is surprising however is the change in strategy with respect to Atom: 14 nm Atoms are now also in the roadmap for 2014!
Intel had already announced that the move to 22 nm would bring with it an architectural transition
for the Silvermont cores which will be based on a new design, probably out of order
so as to be more competitive with AMD and ARM solutions. At the moment Atom processors are more than a year behind when it comes to adopting a new fabrication process: the first Core i5s at 32nm date from January 2010
while the Atom 32 nms are only slated for end 2011, or almost two years behind. Although Silvermont is still planned for 2013 (possibly in the first part of the year), Intel is hoping to take advantage of its technical headstart in terms of fabrication processes to improve competitivity of the future Atoms – known as Airmont - by developing its SoC fabrication process (P1273) in parallel to that for its standard processors (P1272).
There’s little detail on this as yet, except that Intel will be pushing the Fast Flash Standby technology in parallel on the Ivy Bridge platforms. Fast Flash Standby is a process by which traditional RAM would be replaced by flash memory ie. hibernating to SSD. This feature will probably be included in Intel’s Rapid Storage
drivers. Finally, in a look forward at future graphics performance, again according to Anandtech, Intel is hoping to multiply IGPU performance by 12x (without confirmation whether this is with Haswell in 2013 or Skylake in 2015!) in the 10-20 Watt envelope, given as the next Netbook platform in which Intel is taking a particular interest. This is no great surprise either as this is in fact close to the thermal envelope envisaged by forthcoming ARM architectures which could come onto the laptop market with the launch of Windows 8.