Coronavirus: United Kingdom, facing worst recession on record, sees GDP drop 20.4% in Q2

The UK has seen its economy, hit by the coronavirus crisis, suffer a "record" contraction of 20.4% in the second quarter, and is officially facing its worst recession on record, agency figures show National Statistics (ONS), published Wednesday 12 August. 
Economists consider that a country enters a technical recession when it accumulates two consecutive quarters of contraction in its economy. According to the ONS, most of the contraction, which began to be felt in March, occurred in April, an entire month of containment and almost total cessation of activity in the country, which saw production collapsed by 20%.

With a very early recovery in construction sites and manufacturing activity, gross domestic product (GDP) rebounded in May by 2.4% (revised figure), followed by an acceleration in June (+8.7 %) thanks in particular to the reopening of all shops. This is the biggest contraction in the UK economy since the ONS began these quarterly statistics in 1955, he said…

Intel Has Problems With 7nm Engraving, Delays Release For One Year

Intel held a conference for analysts. The opportunity for the company to announce that it is having difficulties with its 7 nm engraving process. This has been postponed for a year and will not be available until the end of 2022, or even the beginning of 2023.

Intel Has Problems With 7nm Engraving, Delays Release For One Year

Intel's future is still unclear. After encountering countless problems with its 10nm etching process, the company had finally released its first mass products almost five years after its first forecast dates. And if, in the end, some saw this 10nm as a milestone quickly forgotten by a rapid switch to a more mature 7nm process, it is not certain that the future will be so bright.

Bob Swan, CEO of Intel, announced that 7nm also poses performance concerns. The case does not seem easy to manage, as it causes a delay of one year for the implementation of this engraving process. The leader wants to be reassuring, however: the first products to be used will arrive with a delay of only six months, by buffer effect. Elements of language that we had already heard about 10 nm, precisely.

In any case, Intel is now targeting the end of 2022, or even the beginning of 2023, to release its first products using 7 nm. However, there is no indication that this will be the mass production of a whole range of products at this point. Intel had already tried to muddy the waters in 2018 with its Core i3-8121U, the first 10nm CPU, but produced in very few copies and which only found its place in a handful of devices. The company then wanted to give a positive signal on its 10nm technology, but did not finally succeed in achieving real mass production until a year later with the 10th generation Cores (September 2019).

At this point, it's pretty unclear whether Intel is once again downplaying the tech issues it is having. In any case, this delay will not be without impact on the release schedule of the various products planned with this process: GPU Xe Ponte Vecchio, CPU Meteor Lake (general public), or different chips dedicated to the server sector. Will Intel look for a partner to burn these products without delay? Or will he prefer to pull on the 10nm rope as he could with the 14nm?

This is probably the first solution that will be chosen, at least for Ponte Vecchio. The graphics chip will be in the form of a chiplet, thus combining several small chips within the same packaging. Bob Swan confirmed that several parts will be engraved by a third-party company (TSMC, Samsung?).

Intel in a rush, AMD in a rush

The case promises to be interesting, especially since AMD is now in full swing. Sales of 7nm mainstream (Ryzen) and server (Epyc) processors are booming and the company keeps repeating that it will indeed be able to offer its Zen 3 architecture before the end of the year - still in progress. 7 nm, that said. The sequel is already planned with the use of 5 nm between the end of 2021 and (more likely) the beginning of 2022. In other words, Intel's 7 nm should not be further behind. In the meantime, Intel promises that the first 10nm desktop processors - codenamed Alder Lake - will be released in the second half of 2021.

Engravings in nm: beware of hazardous comparisons

If the etching processes are given in nanometers (14 nm, 10 nm, 7 nm, etc.), these are more commercial names than a technological reality. Founders, namely companies which engrave chips (TSMC, Samsung, Intel, etc.) thus use different methods to evaluate the size of the engraved transistors. These are also the companies that make chips from Apple, Qualcomm, AMD and even Nvidia.

We quickly understand that we cannot, for example, compare TSMC's 7 nm - used by AMD Ryzen processors in particular - to Intel's future 7 nm. In practice, TSMC's 7nm is thus much closer to Intel's 10nm.