There have been some very nasty rumors floating around, particularly that Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) has delayed its 14nm "Broadwell" parts to 2015. As I tried to explain in a previous article, it is likely that the following "leaked" roadmaps regarding Intel's socketed desktop parts confused less savvy tech press and investors alike:
This roadmap refers only to "socketed" processors. Intel now creates two lines of processors: BGA and LGA. The LGA parts are user replaceable, while the BGA parts are physically soldered down to the board that goes into the system. Here are images to help you understand the difference:
The chip plugs into the socket that I have circled in blue, and the chip itself looks something like this:
In my previous piece (Intel's 14 Nanometer: Setting The Record Straight), I pointed out that it was likely that it was only the LGA desktop chips that would not see 14 nanometer parts, and that they would skip right to the "tock" following "Broadwell" known as "Skylake." Well, in that article, I had common sense on my side, but in this article, I have Intel's own roadmaps - that the tech press could not be bothered to find - to prove that "Broadwell" is actually coming in the first half of 2014, proving that Intel's 14 nanometer process is not only delayed, but Intel's "tick tock" cadence is still alive and well.
Here is the first, and most important, roadmap that corroborates my claim. This is Intel's roadmap discussing its "Y" series of mobile chips (these are the ones that will go into (fanless) detachables):
This very clearly indicates that the 14 nanometer "Broadwell" part will be out in 1H 2014, in fact indicating that Intel is accelerating the release of its ultra low power Core based mobile parts, and not in fact, delaying them.
The story doesn't change when it comes to the Ultrabook parts, either:
Still 1H 2014 for "Broadwell" for Ultrabooks, which - once again - suggests that 14 nanometer is on-track, in line with the comments given at the last conference call that 14 nanometer production would begin its high volume ramp in Q4 2013.
What Does All Of This Mean?
It seems that Intel is aiming for the low power SKUs first and foremost. In fact, the roadmap for the higher TDP mobile parts (which is what the desktop LGA parts are essentially based on) shows that "Broadwell" will not show up in 1H 2014:
This makes sense. In addition to Intel's Ultrabook push taking center stage, even non-Ultrabooks are becoming thinner and lighter, so there is a massive shift in chip volume from the higher performance, higher wattage parts towards to the much lower power consumption parts, as Intel indicated at Computex Taipei:
The newer process technology matters most in the parts that are most sensitive to power consumption and cost per transistor, so it only makes sense that Intel moves very quickly in the areas that need it (i.e. the ones where ARM (NASDAQ:ARMH) based designs can start to encroach) and move fast enough to keep a significant lead (e.g. pricing power) on AMD (NYSE:AMD) in the traditional PC space, but at the same time keep margins nice and high. AMD will just be transitioning to Global Foundries' 28nm process for its 2014 designs, so in ultra mobile, Intel will be 2+ generations ahead, in traditional desktop and server, Intel will still have a full generation lead in process technology as well as superior processor architecture.
Be careful of what you read on the internet, particularly when making investment decisions. If management says 14nm is ramping in 2013 for a 2014 launch, but the tech press wants to convince you that Intel's 14nm process is delayed because the company is "lazy," then it pays to dig deeper.
I've done the digging for you. Intel's 14 nanometer is on track and ready to ship in the firm's highest volume products in the first half of 2014, and the company is not letting up on the gas. Stay tuned for future updates on the Intel story - it's just getting exciting.
Disclosure: I am long INTC, AMD. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.
Additional disclosure: I may go short ARMH at any time.