Personal Finance

Why Intel Corporation's Cannon Lake-EP and EX Server Chips May Be Dead

A purported Dell system road map.

A while back, various leaks showed that microprocessor giant Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) was planning to introduce two waves of processors for its upcoming Purley server platform -- Skylake-EP and EX, and Cannon Lake-EP and EX.

Skylake-EP and EX represent all new architectures built using the company's 14-nanometer+ technology, while Cannon Lake-EP and EX were supposed to represent mild architectural enhancements of the Skylake-EP and EX chips, but with the benefit of being built on the company's upcoming 10-nanometer chip manufacturing technology.

A purported Dell system road map.

A purported Dell system road map. Image source: AnandTech Forums.

In the slide, Dell shows that its server and workstation offerings will see upgrades to Skylake-EP and Skylake-W in the second half of 2017. The slide also indicates that those systems will continue to be the company's offerings through the second half of 2018.

If Intel were going to release Cannon Lake-EP and EX chips in the middle of 2018, then one would reasonably expect a major server and workstation vendor like Dell to refresh its offerings to utilize those new chips.

Will there be a Cannon Lake server processor family at all?

I have seen evidence in the LinkedIn profiles of Intel employees that there indeed exist server processors utilizing Intel's Cannon Lake architecture. However, in the descriptions those employees provided, the chips are referred to as "SoCs" -- i.e., system on a chip.

I think there's a very good chance we'll see Xeon D products, Intel's high-end server system-on-a-chip line aimed at certain types of less processor-intensive workloads, based on the Cannon Lake architecture in the future.

However, I think that Cannon Lake-EP and EX -- the potential successors to the company's workhorse Skylake-EP and EX chips -- were cancelled to allow the superior Ice Lake-EP and EX products to come to market quicker than they would have otherwise.

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Ashraf Eassa owns shares of Intel. The Motley Fool recommends Intel. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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