Intel revises its chip terminology and branding

Intel is committed to introducing a faster generation of processors each year through 2025 by adopting new technology that enables ever smaller transistors and therefore more powerful chips.

By 2024, transistors will be so small that they will no longer be measured in nanometers as they are today, but in angstroms, which are one-tenth the size, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger announced this week. And the chips built around the transistors will be primarily defined by how much they improve in performance per watt over the previous generation.

The roadmap that Gelsinger established is as follows:

  • Intel 10nm SuperFIN – in production now. This is Intel’s “Tiger Lake” generation
  • Intel 7: In production under the name “Adler Lake”, with 10-15% more performance / watt than the previous generation.
  • Intel 4 (Intel 7nm): Q2 2021 tape output, 20% higher performance per watt than previous generation. “Meteor Lake” for the customer, “Grand Rapids” for the Xeon.
  • Intel 3: Ready to manufacture in the second half of 2023.
  • Intel 20A: This marks the beginning of the angstrom era. It is expected to increase in 2024.
  • 2025 and beyond: Intel 18A is in development for early 2025 based on expected improvements to the manufacturing process that will deliver another major leap in transistor performance.

To get to transistors the size of Angstrom, Intel is investing in something called extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography, a manufacturing technique that will eventually replace the standard lithography used now. EUV is new, and that means there will be problems to solve in the process, so a high manufacturing fault is expected initially, which will translate into a possible shortage.

There are also questions about Intel’s manufacturing costs. EUV equipment is not cheap nor is it a high volume market, and that could mean that the chips in EUV production lines could be more expensive due to the manufacturing process. This could also be problematic for availability.

Fabulous new clients

In March, Pat Gelsinger announced IDM 2.0, a strategy to upgrade and improve Intel’s factories, which covered not only the manufacturing of Intel parts, but also introduced a new foundry business model in which Intel would manufacture chips for others. suppliers.

Well, the first two foundry customers have already been announced: Amazon Web Services and Qualcomm. AWS makes its own Arm-based processors called Graviton, while Qualcomm comes as a surprise as Qualcomm and Intel compete in the 5G space.

Qualcomm will use Intel’s upcoming 20A process technology, which will be a few years away, while AWS will be the first customer to use Intel Foundry Services packaging solutions.

Finally, Gelsinger announced an event called Intel InnovatiON on October 27-28. The event will take place both physically and virtually in San Francisco, where Intel promised new product updates, expanded developer experience, the latest application innovation, and community and networking.

It sure sounds like an Intel Developer Forum to me.

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