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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.


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.