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Intel Extends Process Roadmap to 20A

August 10, 2021

Author: Linley Gwennap

To better align its naming with common foundry terminology, Intel assigned new numbers to its future process nodes. The company will now call its 7nm technology, for example, Intel 4. It also extended its roadmap to 2024 and beyond with new nodes called 20A and 18A, which will be its first to use gate-all-around (GAA) transistors. The new plan should please investors and potential foundry customers, who want to see the Intel Foundry Service (IFS) become a viable alternative to TSMC and Samsung.

Intel claims to have considerable interest in IFS but has disclosed no fab customers. It announced Amazon (AWS) as a customer, but only for its advanced packaging capabilities. Qualcomm will be a “partner” for the Intel 20A technology, which it could use in future processors.

The new roadmap renames 10nm Enhanced SuperFin as Intel 7, which doesn’t indicate a major improvement but rather conveys that it is already similar to 7nm technologies from TSMC and Samsung. For several years, Intel has been developing its next-generation 7nm process, now called Intel 4. Originally due in late 2021, the technology last year slipped to 2H22 production, and the company now says the first product at this node, the Meteor Lake PC processor, will ramp production in 2023, likely by midyear.

It plans to bring Intel 3 technology to volume production in 2H23, which could lead to product introductions in 1H24. This technology, formerly 7nm+, is slated for an 18% gain in performance per watt over Intel 4. The company expects to then quickly leap to a process it calls 20A, which is supposed to connote 20 angstroms. This technology is scheduled to achieve production wafer starts in 1H24, marking three new nodes in 18 months.

Subscribers can view the full article in the Microprocessor Report.

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