Intel plans to go beyond 3nm chips

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Earlier this year, Intel announced plans take the lead in CPU production again and “unquestionable leadership” in the computer world. These were impressive goals, but they lacked any sense to actually achieve them. We finally know Intel’s plan.

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger and Vice President of Technology Development Dr. Ann Kelleher, presented the company’s plan for the future. For starters, Intel is renaming its manufacturing nodes. What was once 10nm “Enhanced Superfin” is now only “7.” This may seem a bit duplicitous – “just wave your wand to have better technology!” – but to be fair to Intel, nanometer measurements of process nodes no longer correspond to anything physical, and in terms of density Intel’s current 10nm chips are competitive with TSMC and Samsung’s 7nm.

Looking beyond 7 nm, Intel is aiming for an aggressive release schedule with major product updates per year. This fall we expect their Alder Lake chips, which will mix high and low power cores, followed by the now 4nm Meteor Lake chips that will switch to a “chip” design and integrate Intel’s 3D stacked chip technology, Foveros.

In addition, Intel has outlined technology for a 3nm node based on the EUV that will use a high-energy manufacturing process to simplify chip generation and a “20A” for the angstrom node. This is one tenth of a billionth of a meter (meaning 2nm), followed by an 18A node that Intel hopes to start producing in 2025 for products sometime in the second half of the decade. Again, although the node measurements no longer match the physical structures, the silicon atom is in the 2 angstrom wide range, so these are seriously tiny transistors.

This release schedule works aggressively, and Intel doesn’t have the best results in achieving the goals for the new nodes, but even if it does approach those goals, expect your laptops and desktops to experience a big increase in performance over the next few years.

For even more information on Intel’s plans and details on EMIB interconnect technology and two new versions of the Fover, be sure to check out the video above. You can look at our sources here.

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