TSMC’s current leadership in the semiconductor industry is undisputed. This Taiwanese company accounts for approximately 54% of the market and by the end of December 2022 began large-scale manufacturing of integrated circuits in its 3nm node. At the moment, only Samsung is being able to keep up with it. In fact, this South Korean company began testing its 3nm GAA (Gate-All-Around) node at the end of June 2022.
Intel is still a long way from these two companies if we stick to the semiconductors that it is capable of producing in its most advanced photolithographic nodes. Pat Gelsinger, its CEO, assured during an interview with The Wall Street Journal that its medium-term strategy in the chip industry is to have the best transistors and the most advanced integration technology in the world by 2025.
At the time he uttered these words, they seemed like a wake-up call intended to remind us that despite the setbacks he has made in recent years, Intel is still here. But, in reality, these statements by Gelsinger are a true declaration of intent. This company is determined to wrest leadership in the semiconductor industry from TSMC. And, in addition, it intends to do it in a very short time. In just two years.
Intel has updated its ‘roadmap’ and the 1.8 nm Clearwater Forest CPU is its great asset
Just three weeks ago, Wang Rui, the president of Intel’s China subsidiary, said that her engineers have already completed the development of their 2nm and 1.8nm integration technologies. This does not mean that Intel is prepared to start the first manufacturing tests using these lithographs; It means that your technicians have completed the fine-tuning of the technologies, materials, specifications, and requirements that they will use to produce integrated circuits using those two lithographic nodes.
During the second half of next year Intel plans to have the 18A (1.8 nm) lithographic node ready.
What we know so far is that Intel plans to have the Intel 3 node ready to start manufacturing in the second half of this year, as well as start chip production on the Intel 20A (2nm) node in the first half of 2024. And, what is even more surprising, we also knew that during the second half of next year he plans to have ready the 18A lithographic node (1.8 nm). To some extent all this seemed a bit ethereal promises, but as the weeks go by they take shape and invite us to take Intel’s plans very seriously.
Just a few hours ago, this company held a meeting with investors during which it updated the roadmap in which it forecasts what the evolution of its next microprocessors for data centers and artificial intelligence applications will be like, and also when they will be ready. We can see it above these lines. This image doesn’t reflect the lithography each chip will be made from, but we know it, and this is precisely the moment when things start to get interesting.
The 5th generation ‘Emerald Rapids’ Xeon CPU will arrive during the fourth quarter of this year and will be produced using Intel 7 (10nm) lithography. Nothing flashy so far. During the first half of 2024, ‘Sierra Forest’ will arrive, a 144-core beast that for the first time will bring efficient cores to a Xeon CPU. It will be manufactured on the Intel 3 node. Soon after, the ‘Granite Rapids’ CPU will be ready, which will also be produced on the Intel 3 node.
In 2025 the Xeon ‘Clearwater Forest’ will arrive, a processor that, according to Intel’s plans, will be produced in the 1.8 nm node
And, finally, in 2025 the Xeon ‘Clearwater Forest’ will arrive, a processor that, according to Intel’s plans, will occur in the 1.8 nm node. If it keeps its promise, this company will execute a devilish launch rate over the next two years, and we must not lose sight of the fact that this roadmap is limited exclusively to its Xeon processors.
Intel is likely to bring its new lithographs to its consumer chips sooner. After all, that’s what he usually does. Be that as it may, the important thing is that their next releases already have a name, date and lithograph. Users are interested in TSMC, Intel and Samsung being in the best possible shape, so the best thing that can happen to us is that all of them fulfill what they are promising us.
Cover image: Intel
More information: Intel
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