Intel optimistic over 7nm EUV node schedule

by Mark Tyson on 7 December 2018, 11:01

Tags: Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)

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At a recent Nasdaq annual investor conference, Murthy Renduchintala, chief engineering officer and president of technology, systems architecture and client group at Intel talked about the company's plans with regard to 7nm process technology. The overall message was that Intel is very pleased with its 7nm EUV tech, it has learned from 10nm issues, and it intends to release 7nm products in line with its original internal plans. Unfortunately those plans haven't been shared so we can't say when Intel 7nm products will hit mass production and distribution.

The decade is nearing its end

The above news was shared by AnandTech which reminded us, should we need it, that Intel's 10nm process technology is yet to move to high-volume manufacturing. At the moment Intel only produces the Core i3-8121U, without an iGPU, on 10nm and it won't be until later in 2019 until we see a big change in this respect.

Intel 10nm uses deep ultraviolet lithography and it makes heavy use of multipatterning to create the chips that Intel intends to output via this process. That is said to be the major tumbling block with the process, according to the AnandTech report. In contrast, Intel's 7nm production tech will use extreme ultraviolet lithography a simpler and shorter cycle time due to reduced multipatterning.

A separate team has been developing 7nm in a largely separate effort, and it is said to be well underway. Renduchintala told investors that he was "very pleased with our progress on 7nm," adding that it was on-schedule. What 'on-schedule' means is open to question for outsiders. AnandTech indicates that 7nm products won't trail a full four years behind 10nm, but when did/does that particular clock start? It is rather unclear, perhaps Intel is just trying to pacify investors.

One last interesting point is that Intel has announced plans for just a single 7nm fab so far, Fab 42 in Arizona.

HEXUS Forums :: 10 Comments

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Only a single 7nm fab?

Maybe a secret jump to 5nm but don't want to tip off the competition?
Only a single 7nm fab?

Maybe a secret jump to 5nm but don't want to tip off the competition?

Or sheer uncertainty? Given the competition is already on 7nm, maybe building multiple expensive fabs isn't good sense when the competition has it sewn up and they're well behind? I suspect you may be right and they're pumping a load into 5nm in the hope of writing this off as a really bad few years, speeding up progression and regaining the lead.
Intel's 10nm is reportedly as dense as the competition's 7nm so they aren't quite as far behind as it sounds.

Their 7nm tech being notably different to the 10nm is weird. Wonder if they'll end up being complimentary instead of a simple replacement?
I look at that picture and can't help thinking that 22nm was 2011, 14nm was 2013, 10nm was meant for 2015, 7nm for 2017 and 5nm for 2019. At least that's what it looks like to me.
Are they making a couple of tweaks and rebranding their failed 10nm as 7nm? As said above, intels 10nm is similar to their competitions 10nm.

A single fab being dedicated to it doesn't make them seem *that* optimistic.