[This is a funny exchange. Starts out with the Intel fan Mike chastising the ARM-biased author for writing fiction... ]
Mike Bryant | July 26, 2012 8:57 AM | Reply
I see you're entering for the Booker Prize this year.
David Manners replied to comment from Mike Bryant | July 26, 2012 9:15 AM | Reply
I knew, when I wrote it, that I'd get a snotty remark from you, Mike, so: if your Intel pals are so good at mobile SOCs why haven't they made one on their 22nm finfet process?
Mike Bryant | July 26, 2012 9:45 AM | Reply
David Manners replied to comment from Mike Bryant | July 26, 2012 10:18 AM | Reply
And their non-appearance on the market is due to their inferior performance characteristics? Lousy yield? Uncompetitive cost?
Mike Bryant | July 26, 2012 11:21 AM | Reply
You know full well it's about three quarter way through design, which is a lot further on than any designs using TSMC's 20nm non-finfet process, let alone the promised finfet process.
Performance will be a huge improvement over Medfield and Cortex A9 designs, and Intel's yield will be as good as ever. Cost will be whatever Intel decide to charge for it.
David Manners replied to comment from Mike Bryant | July 26, 2012 11:32 AM | Reply
Well if Intel's 22nm mobile SOC is not even designed yet, then Warren is absolutely correct in saying Intel's current commercial mobile SOCs are on 32nm. Moreover, if it's not even designed yet, the 'huge' performance improvement is problematic. Furthermore Intel's yields have always been reported to be lower than anyone else's because Intel cares less about production cost than anyone else because it enjoys monopoly pricing. While, in the mobile SOC industry, which is not a monopoly industry, Intel won't get away with charging whatever it wants for it.
Mike Bryant | July 26, 2012 11:53 AM | Reply
Not at all. I never disputed that the current Medfield product is on 32nm and accept this lags just behind current 28nm TSMC fabbed products. However your article was on future products - you mention TSMC 20nm and Finfets, ARMv8 and other things still a long way off whereas Intel's 22nm SoC is aimed for full release next April. The fact this uses existing fab processes takes the risk out of it - Intel's tick-tock approach - and so it will be very surprising if this slips.
Intel's rumoured yield figures - they never report them - are dominated by huge PC processor cores. The much smaller Atom processors will have yields better than industry norms simply because Intel makes more wafers than anyone else and so can optimise yield for a single process. AMD has tried to compete at this level and always failed on cost.
There will however be a huge step forward for TSMC at 20nm when they stop offering lots of different processes as they too will gain the experience of optimising a single process using data from all of their customer's wafers.
And as I said, cost will be whatever Intel decide to charge for it. They can always afford to undercut anyone else should they choose to do as we have always argued having in-house production will always be cheaper than using foundries and you have reported and generally agreed with this thesis.
David Manners replied to comment from Mike Bryant | July 26, 2012 11:58 AM | Reply
Oh well we were talking at cross-purposes. I was stuck in the here and now. As for the future: never forget the semiconductor industry's Golden Rule: 'When Intel steps outside its monopoly it always screws up'.
Mike Bryant | July 26, 2012 12:05 PM | Reply
Well ARM and Qualcomm had better not rest on their laurels or it will be an Intel monopoly :-)
Whilst Qualcomm is frantically looking for the best way forward the messages out of ARM, and sometimes TSMC as well, are far too complacent for my liking.
And the biggest mistake was deciding to produce the 20nm planar process as this will delay TSMC getting the finfet process needed to compete with Intel to market.