What Products Use Intel 10nm? SuperFin and 10++ Demystifiedby Dr. Ian Cutress on September 25, 2020 9:00 AM EST
The AnandTech Decoder Ring for Intel 10nm
The reason why I’m writing about this topic is because it is all a bit of a mess. Intel is a company so large, with many different business units each with its own engineers and internal marketing personnel/product managers, that a single change made by the HQ team takes time to filter down to the other PR teams, but also filter back through the engineers, some of which make press-facing appearances. That’s before any discussions as to whether the change is seen as positive or negative by those affected.
I reached out to Intel to get their official decoder ring for the 10++ to new SuperFin naming. The official response I received was in itself confusing, and the marketing person I speak to wasn’t decoding from the first 2018 naming change, but from the original pre-2017 naming scheme. Between my contacts and I we spoke over the phone so I could hear what they wanted to tell me and so I could tell them what I felt were the reasons for the changes. Some of the explanations I made (such as Intel not wanting to acknowledge Ice Lake 10nm is different to Cannon Lake 10nm, or that Ice Lake 10nm is called that way to hide the fact that Cannon Lake 10nm didn’t work) were understandably left with a no comment.
However, I now have an official decoder ring for you, to act as a reference for both users and Intel’s own engineers alike.
|AnandTech's Decoder Ring for Intel's 10nm|
First Xe-HP GPU
For clarity, 10nm Superfin is often abbreviated to 10SF, and 10nm Enhanced Superfin to 10ESF.
Moving forward, Intel’s communications team is committed to explaining everything in terms of 10nm, 10SF, and 10ESF. I have been told that the process of moving all internal documents away from the pre-2017 naming to the 2020 naming is already underway.
We reached out for Intel for a comment for this article:
It is widely acknowledged within the industry that there is inconsistency and confusion in [our] nanometer nomenclature. Going forward, we will refer the next generation 10nm products as 10nm SuperFin technology-based products.
My take is that whoever had the bright idea to knock Ice Lake down from 10+ to 10 (and then Tiger from 10++ to 10+ etc.), in order to protect the company from addressing issues with the Cannon Lake product, drastically failed at predicting the fallout that this name change would bring. Sometimes a company should accept they didn't score as well as they did, admit the hit, and move on, rather than try and cover it up. So much more time and effort has been lost in terms of communications between the press and Intel, or the press and engineers, or even between the engineers and Intel's own communications team. Even the basic understanding of dealing with that change has been difficult, to the detriment of the press trying to report on Intel’s technology, and likely even on the financial side as investors try to understand what’s going on.
But, truth be told, I’m glad that Intel moved away from the ++++ nomenclature. It allows the company to now easily name future manufacturing node technologies that aren’t just for pure logic performance, which may be vital if Intel ever wants to become a foundry player again.