|Update on 8/16/16: At IDF, Intel announced they are broadly licensing and supporting ARM IP on their 10nm Foundry process, and presumably going forward. Having thrown in the towel on mobile SoC's and Contra Revenue earlier this year, this would appear to be RIP for x86 in both mobile and likely IoT. Instead, Intel appears to want to compete with the Foundries for the wafer volume those markets offer. Since it takes years to build IP and customer relationships, and Intel has a checkered history of being a reliable partner and silicon scaling is near the end, this will be a very interesting development to watch over the next 5-10 years.|
Update on 1/28/16: TSMC & Samsung both exited 2015 in high volume FinFET production, while AMD is scheduled for mid-16 on GF's FinFETs. TSMC will start 10nm customer tapeouts in 1Q16 and production by 4Q16. The PC industry remains in contraction, now entering the 5'th year of decline, and mobile is showing hints of peaking as well. The big question for '16 is whether any new high volume applications for semis emerge. Automotive, wearables, VR, and drones are potentials that might develop in 2016.
Update on 3/6/15: With confirmation from WMC that Samsung will ship two devices with 14nm FinFET SoCs starting April 10, 2015, it is finely becoming clear how drastically the Foundries have closed the process gap with Intel. An interesting question now for 2015 is when the combination of Samsung/GF and TSMC will surpass Intel in wafer area on FinFET processes on a quarterly basis. My guess is that Q4'15 sees this milestone occur.
Update on 2/26/15: With WMC a few days away, it is widely anticipated that Samsung will debut 14nm SoCs into a very high volume product: The Galaxy S6. With an expected ramp for Apple A9 SoCs in Q2, and likely some additional SoC volume from Qualcomm, it would appear that Samsung will ship more CPUs at 14nm than Intel in 2015. Intel might possibly ship more wafer area at 14nm, but data on that is difficult to obtain. The mobile SoC's are as big or bigger than the lower end higher volume PC CPUs, and so far, Intel's slow ramp of 14nm product has not progressed well for the large die devices.
Update on 8/6/14: Since this board was started, the CPU space has changed considerably, and so has the semi Foundry space. The AMD/Intel competition in x86 processors has been replaced with x86 vs ARM as computing has increasingly shifted to mobile form factors. Intel has made a significant shift to use their leading edge process advantage as a Foundry. The huge volumes in mobile now dominate leading edge wafer production, and competition is fierce to land Apple's orders between TSMC and Samsung. Intel has struggled to launch 14nm, and the Foundries are making a determined effort to close the gap with Intel on process tech. What happens in late 2014 and through 2015 for 14/16nm FinFET processes now looks like the big story in semiconductors in the next year+.
While the x86 CPU contest between AMD & Intel has grown old, exciting things are happening in the CPU and graphics world. The age of APUs in the x86 world has begun, with both AMD and Intel rolling out new families in early 2011. Meanwhile, 2010 saw the explosive launch of tablet PC's, mostly powered by non-x86 designs, and running non-MSFT OSes and software. What will 2011 bring to the CPU/GPU world?
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