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Intel calls for Coffee Lake manufacturing aid from China to combat CPU stock issues

Intel Coffee Lake Wafer

Intel’s Coffee Lake processors launched back in October, but implying they have been a bit thin on the ground since then may be an exercise understatement. To combat this – arguably self-inflicted – problem, Intel are roping more factories into the fray to churn out even more of their six-core processors.

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To compete with AMD’s disruptive Ryzen processors sooner rather than later, Intel launched their Coffee Lake processors earlier than expected, cutting the previous generation Kaby Lake’s processors life a little short, while also rendering a selection of high-end Skylake-X chips obsolete a few scant months after launch. Because they were launched so early, however, these processors have been mighty tough to get hold of, especially in their six-core/12-thread i7 8700K, and six-core/six-thread i5 8600K flair.

To ease this disruptive stock blockade, Intel have conscripted extra factories – based in Chengdu, China – to start producing Coffee Lake processors to try and alleviate the stock issue.

According to Intel’s product change notification these factories follow Intel’s Copy Exactly! manufacturing guidelines, allowing Intel to increase production across multiple locations, while continuing quality and performance standards across their range.

Intel manufacturingIntel’s 14nm process has been at the forefront for what seems like a lifetime, sticking around due to Intel’s tough time with 10nm. This has led to a well-aged 14nm lithography vintage, although it seems to be less than helpful in meeting worldwide demand for these chips. Thanks to Coffee Lake’s premature arrival into the world, Intel may be running at less than full manufacturing capacity for Coffee Lake’s 14nm++ process, foreshadowing further stock issues had production not increased by the new year, when more chipsets are set to release – marking the effective end of the Coffee Lake paper launch.

This is some much-needed good news for awaiting Intel customers. More stock for Intel’s elusive Coffee Lake processors should be hitting the shelves before long, even if they’ve travelled between multiple factories before ending up in your rig. This increase in production will likely coincide with Intel releasing budget, mainstream and (most importantly for Intel) business chipsets at the start of 2018, which should see increased demand for Coffee Lake chips.

Let’s hope Intel manage to keep up production… and keep prices near MSRP, at least if they wish to have a hope in hell versus AMD’s Pinnacle Ridge once that rolls around early next year.