Along with detailing the nuts and the bolts of their Q1 2020 earnings, as part of Intel’s financial presentation, the company also offered a quick update on their upcoming Tiger Lake client CPUs. In short, the company is now preparing for volume production of the chips, and expects to being shipping them to OEMs mid-year.
Intel first unveiled Tiger Lake back at CES 2020 early this year, where the company briefly detailed the architecture while showing off a device using a prototype chip. Tiger Lake will be based on Intel’s latest Core CPU architecture, and will also be the first CPU from the company to integrate an iGPU based on their new Xe-LP graphics architecture. The chips will be based on a newer version of Intel’s 10nm manufacturing process than what’s used in the current ice Lake chips, which Intel is calling their 10+ process. At the time, Intel was promising that Tiger Lake devices would show up by the holidays, a similar time frame as 2019’s Ice Lake launch.
All told then, Intel’s most recent update is right in-line with their previous promises. With Tiger Lake being another mobile-first launch, OEMs need to receive chips well in advance of when consumer products will reach the store shelves, both to give OEMs the necessary time to finalize their designs, as well as to build up a suitable stockpile of devices for a proper retail launch. So, as it always needs to be said when talking about Intel’s timelines for manufacturing, while Tiger Lake chips will be shipping mid-year, we’re not currently expecting devices any sooner than what Intel has previously discussed.
Finally, if everything goes according to plan or Intel, it looks like the Tiger Lake launch should be a higher volume affair than Ice Lake’s. Cognizant of Ice Lake’s slow ramp-up and launch in 2019, Intel is telling investors that they are holding twice as many Tiger Lake CPUs in reserve as compared to Ice Lake. The company does need to master its updated 10+ process to get there, but with any luck, Intel’s 4+ years of playing with 10nm may finally pay some better dividends as they bring up their latest process.