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Will Intel’s 14-Nanometer Kaby Lake Be Enough in 2016?

During Intel's (NASDAQ:INTC) most-recent earnings call, CEO Brian Krzanich admitted that mass production of the company's 10-nanometer manufacturing technology would be delayed by approximately a year. Krzanich said that the issues that Intel is having in ramping its 10-nanometer technology into production are "similar to" those faced at the company's 14-nanometer ramp-up, implying poor manufacturing yields.

In order to tide Intel's customers over, Krzanich said that the company plans to introduce a "third wave" of products built on its 14-nanometer manufacturing technology, known as Kaby Lake. Will Kaby Lake -- which is built on the same tried-and-true 14-nanometer technology -- be enough to help Intel maintain its current dominant position in the PC market.

What's a Kaby Lake, again?
Intel has not formally revealed the specifications of Kaby Lake, but there's evidence out there to suggest that it's essentially Skylake with an upgraded integrated graphics engine. This means that general-purpose CPU performance will remain roughly flat to what we'll see in the Skylake-based chips this year -- although, through process improvements/refinements, Intel might be able to squeeze out a little extra clock frequency.

Graphics performance should move up, though, and Kaby Lake will likely have enhanced media capabilities. In a recent analysis of the media capabilities on Skylake, AnandTech's Ganesh T S lamented the lack of hardware HEVC 10-bit decode...


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