Intel did a press event yesterday where they announced Intel Accelerated, a whole new roadmap and they're doing away with nanometer naming with something a bit more bland.
For some time now it has seemed like Intel has been struggling to shrink down, and I can't help feel that part of their new naming is to get away from others thinking that too. That said, the new naming better matches their rivals and it was at times confusing when we saw things like Intel "14nm++" it started to make much less sense overall.
Their new naming is as follows:
Intel 7 (previously 10nm Enhanced SuperFin)
Delivering an approximately 10% to 15% performance-per-watt increase over Intel 10nm SuperFin through FinFET transistor optimizations, including increased strain, more low-resistance materials, novel high-density patterning techniques, streamlined structures and better routing with a higher metal stack. Intel 7 will be featured in products such as Alder Lake for client in 2021 and Sapphire Rapids for the data center, which is expected to be in production in the first quarter of 2022.
Intel 4 (previously Intel 7nm)
Providing an approximately 20% performance-per-watt increase over Intel 7, Intel 4 is the first Intel FinFET node to fully embrace extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV), which involves a highly complex optical system of lenses and mirrors that focuses a 13.5nm wavelength of light to print incredibly small features on silicon. This offers a vast improvement over prior technology that used light at a wavelength of 193nm. Intel 4 will be ready for production in the second half of 2022 for products shipping in 2023,
including Meteor Lake for client and Granite Rapids for the data center.
Continuing to reap the benefits of FinFET, Intel 3 is expected to deliver around an 18% performance-per-watt increase over Intel 4. This is a higher level of transistor performance improvement than typically derived from a standard full node. Intel 3 implements a denser, higher performance library; increased intrinsic drive current; an optimized interconnect metal stack with reduced via resistance; and increased use of EUV compared with Intel 4. Intel 3 will be ready to begin manufacturing products in the second half of 2023.
Ushering in the angstrom era with two breakthrough technologies, PowerVia and RibbonFET. PowerVia is Intel’s unique, industry-first implementation of backside power delivery – eliminating the need for power routing on the front side of the wafer and providing optimized signal routing while reducing droop and lowering noise. RibbonFET, Intel’s implementation of a gate-all-around transistor, is the company’s first new transistor architecture since it pioneered FinFETs in 2011, delivering faster transistor switching speeds while achieving the same drive current as multiple fins in a smaller footprint. Intel 20A is expected to ramp in 2024.
2025 and Beyond
Beyond Intel 20A, Intel 18A is already in development for early 2025 with refinements to RibbonFET that will deliver another major jump in transistor performance. Intel is also working to define, build and deploy next-generation High NA EUV, and expects to receive the first production tool in the industry. Intel is partnering closely with ASML to assure the success of this industry breakthrough beyond the current generation of EUV.
If you missed it, back in March we had Intel announce a big manufacturing expansion so this is another step forward. With this they're going up against the likes of TSMC, aligning their naming makes more sense. It means little for us normal consumers, other than Intel clearly having plans in place to continue pushing forward with new and more advanced CPUs and so eventually we will see even better gaming performance.
“Building on Intel’s unquestioned leadership in advanced packaging, we are accelerating our innovation roadmap to ensure we are on a clear path to process performance leadership by 2025,” Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said during the global “Intel Accelerated” webcast. “We are leveraging our unparalleled pipeline of innovation to deliver technology advances from the transistor up to the system level. Until the periodic table is exhausted, we will be relentless in our pursuit of Moore’s Law and our path to innovate with the magic of silicon.”