Taking place this week alongside the consumer electronics clamor is the annual Intel Developer Forum (IDF) at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Though it has and continues to be first and foremost a developers conference, IDF also offers Intel a chance to unveil new products, and in more recent editions discuss and promote their plans for further breaking into the mobile market.

Diving right into the subject of Intel’s Core microarchitecture, with the Broadwell based Core M already in the process of launching, Intel is giving developers and the public a look at what comes after Broadwell. Already on Intel’s roadmaps for some time, Intel took to the stage at IDF14 to formally announce their next-generation Skylake architecture and to demonstrate its status.

Intel's Tick-Tock Cadence
Microarchitecture Process Node Tick or Tock Release Year
Conroe/Merom 65nm Tock 2006
Penryn 45nm Tick 2007
Nehalem 45nm Tock 2008
Westmere 32nm Tick 2010
Sandy Bridge 32nm Tock 2011
Ivy Bridge 22nm Tick 2012
Haswell 22nm Tock 2013
Broadwell 14nm Tick 2014
Skylake 14nm Tock 2015

In Intel terminology Skylake is the Tock to Broadwell’s Tick, offering a new microarchitecture atop the 14nm process first introduced with Broadwell. As is the case with every Core update, for Skylake Intel is shooting for significant increases in performance, power efficiency, and battery life. Since Skylake is built on the same 14nm process as Broadwell, Skylake is primarily an exercise in Intel’s architecture development capabilities, with its gains needing to come from optimizations in design rather than significant manufacturing improvements.             

At roughly a year out from launch Intel is not saying anything about the architecture or design at this time, but they are using IDF to showcase that Skylake is up and running. Demonstrating this, Intel showcased a pair of Skylake development systems. The first of which was a traditional open laboratory testbed that was running 3DMark, which was being used to showcase that the GPU and CPU portions of Skylake were running and performing well. The second demonstration was a completed laptop that was playing back 4K video, and is an early version of the hardware Intel will be shipping as the software development vehicle for developers next year.

Alongside their demonstration, Intel also announced a rough timeline for the volume production and availability of Skylake. Volume production will take place in H2’2015, with product availability slated for later in the year. With Broadwell being behind schedule due to a slower than planned bring-up of their 14nm process, there has been some question over what would happen with Skylake and Intel clearly wanted to address this head-on.

Consequently a big part of Intel’s message on Skylake is that the next generation CPU is already up and running and is in a healthy state, apparently unfazed by the earlier 14nm delays that dogged Broadwell. At the same time the H2’2015 launch date for Skylake means that it’s going to be out roughly a year after the first Broadwell parts, which means Intel still intends to adhere to their roughly 1 year product replacement cadence.

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  • kyuu - Wednesday, September 10, 2014 - link

    I would expect Skylake-E probably mid- to late-2016, if past experience is any indication. Haswell-E only just came out, if you noticed.
  • iceman-sven - Wednesday, September 10, 2014 - link

    There are hints for a faster ramp up. We might see Skylake-E(P) late 2015(mid Oct to Dec). Many big customers are not happy with the Server road-map the last few years. If it goes smoothly, that 2015 lunch is very likely.
    There is a rumor for late spring/early summer lunch of Broadwell-EP and add the fact, 18 core was planned for Broadwell-EP, but now debut on Haswell-EP. Plus Knights Landing on the new LGA 3XXX for Skylake-EP for 2H2015.
  • MrSpadge - Wednesday, September 10, 2014 - link

    I also like chips for lunch.. but only if they're already launched ;)
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, September 10, 2014 - link

    I've also seen rumors that to make the big customers happy by reducing the delay on high end Xeon launches that Intel might skip the broadwell generation for them entirely. If that also means that Skylake-E launches at or shortly after mainstream Skylake for the enthusiast version there would be much rejoicing.
  • melgross - Thursday, September 11, 2014 - link

    Originally, Broadwell should bphave been out in the first quarter of 2014. But 22nm was late too, as was 32nm before that. So these things continue to get pushed back. Intel can fudge with their chart because just getting a handful of chips out counts, for them, as have the line out. If they put when full production began, then the chart would look different.

    So yes, they should be out a full year later, but are coming out right on the heels of Broadwell.
  • MrSpadge - Wednesday, September 10, 2014 - link

    "bring-up of their 14nm process"
    That should be "ramp-up of their.."
  • thomasxstewart - Wednesday, September 10, 2014 - link

    public needs bee estatic..

  • melgross - Thursday, September 11, 2014 - link

    Intel is falling further behind each new processor shrink, though their chart doesn't show that. Originally, Broadwell should have had a complete rollout during 2014, with the usual trickle afterwards. But it's really just a trickle in 2014, with the majority available in 2015. As stated in the article, Broadwell will have a pretty short lifetime.

    But what's the bet that 10nm won't also be late? I'm betting that it will.
  • krutou - Saturday, September 13, 2014 - link

    Guess what, other foundries like TSMC are having problems as these smaller nodes too.
  • arneberg - Thursday, September 11, 2014 - link

    The most ineresting thing with Skylake will be skylake-e
    Before it´s only boring laptops and handheld stuff, skylake-e will have pci-e 4 and other fun stuff have been waiting for skylake-e since sandy-bridge come out, doing well by my 2687w x2 so far

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