The idea was that development was classified as a "tick" where an existing processor design would be migrated to a new manufacturing process. The process has been used since Intel first introduced its "Core" branded processors, and the model has created a familiar pattern.

However, while Intel might have improved the architecture and optimization of its Skylake processors in comparison to its Broadwell lineup, the performance difference was negligible and we are afraid that the next generation lineup is not going to offer any significant performance boost over its predecessors.

However, the process has come under increasing pressure. It states: "We also plan to introduce a third 14nm product, code-named Kaby Lake". In this case the tock would be the latest 6th Gen "Skylake" Core chips. 2014's Broadwell series (the "tick") was hit by heavy delays and launched without a full rollout of processors for every kind of device.

It appears that chipmaker Intel is finally ready to bid farewell to its usual "tick-tock" product cycle. The plan initially was to move from 14nm to the first 10nm chip-"Cannonlake"-later in 2016". Owing to the already shrinking die sizes, it looks like the process may permanently become a three-step, according to financial documents. This will be followed by the Architecture phase which was Skylake on 14nm.

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Now, Intel will add a new step called "Optimization".

However, back in mid-2015, Intel admitted that its 10-nanometer technology was in rough shape and wouldn't go into production at the end of the year as expected. Each new process is getting harder to develop and productionize. Intel's current process technology focuses around two elements, the "tick" and "tock".

Intel's tick-tock approach referred to a year-by-year cycle in which it upgraded manufacturing techniques one year and upgraded microprocessor architectures the next. "I'm thinking the cycle will be at least three years for 7nm models", said Gwennap. An annual report made public this week suggests that the company will instead transition to a three-stage process that seems poised to slow the release of new product cycles. While Intel has long believed that it could continue to make chips smaller and more powerful, the company also wants to take advantage of longer lifecycles. As such, Intel may find itself leapfrogged, at least when it comes to one aspect of chip manufacturing.