Intel’s Tick-Tock Production Cycle Slows Down

Most PC enthusiasts have heard about Intel’s Tick-Tock production cycle. Simply put, each Tock introduces a new micro-architecture while the Tick then miniaturizes to a small fabrication process. This meant the new CPU series was introduced once a year where one year a Tock is introduced and the following a Tick is then introduced in which the process repeats itself.

Intel has stated that the Tick-Tock production cycle is slowing down from 2 years to 2.5 years and, with its fabrication process approaching 10nm node, this slow down could only get worst.


Intel has put the blame on this slow down of the Tick-Tock development cycle on Moore’s Law where it mentions that transistor counts can double each 2 years. By means of miniaturizing silicon, lithography is beginning to buckle as we start to approach 10nm nodes. We saw a slow down in the way Intel approached Broadwell as hitting the 14nm node took longer than expected. To compensate for this slow down, the Haswell Refresh was introduced to cover the mid 2014 – mid 2015 ground.

Intel Skylake

Broadwell has been cannibalized by an on schedule Skylake release which can be seen by the two less memorable chips, the I5-5675C and the I7-5775C. These two chips have been hard to find in retail stores and one might imagine that Broadwell may have been just a test release of a 14nm node. If you put all this together, you might see that there will be a longer than usual wait until Intel hits its 10nm node CPU’s code-named Cannonlake.

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