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Intel’s Tick Tock Model

Intel's Tick-Tock Model

Designed to maintain cadence in ongoing innovation of mainstream Intel® microprocessor technology, Intel utilizes the ‘tick-tock’ model. Using this model, Intel has successfully delivered next-generation silicon technology as well as new processor microarchitecture on alternating years for the past several years.

Tick (process technology advancement) - Fulfilling the prediction of Intel founder and technology visionary Gordon Moore, in what is popularly called Moore’s Law, Intel delivers a new silicon process technology every other year. This ‘tick’ of process technology advancement dramatically increases transistor density while enhancing performance and energy efficiency within a smaller, more refined version of the microarchitecture in production at the time.  

Tock (new microarchitecture) - Delivering a new microarchitecture on alternating years, Intel is able to optimize the value of the increased number of transistors and technology updates enabled by the new process. Intel® microarchitecture advancements not only improve energy efficiency and performance, but increase functional density with features, such as hardware-supported video transcoding, encryption/decryption, and other integrated technologies.

For instance, Intel® microarchitecture code name Nehalem (a tock) was initially introduced on the 45nm  process technology (a tick). The 2010 Intel® Core™ processor family was the 32nm 'tick' version of the Intel® microarchitecture code name Nehalem. Intel microarchitecture code name Sandy Bridge  (tock), initially introduced on 32nm process technology, is the foundation of the 2nd generation Intel® Core™ processor family. And, the 22nm tick of the 2nd generation Intel Core processor family  is due to be in production at the end of 2011.

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Predictable processor advancements

Intel design teams work in parallel around the globe to deliver coordinated technology advances based on our tick-tock model. The results can be seen in product launches, such as the Visibly Smart 2nd generation Intel® Core™ processor family code name Sandy Bridge.

Enabling the Future

Tomorrow is in the hands of innovators today. As Sponsors of Tomorrow.™, Intel engineers continue to shrink transistor sizes and develop for the next century with breakthrough technologies and microarchitectures introduced in our tick-tock model.

Supporting industry-wide innovation

Thousands of vendors use Intel® processors in their product designs. To help ensure and meet their needs, Intel invests heavily in research efforts to support next-generation solutions at the silicon level, while driving industry-wide standards. Combined with the predictability of Intel’s tick-tock model, these efforts help enable faster, more efficient innovation throughout the industry.