Intel’s medium-term plans are extraordinarily ambitious. Its strategy involves recovering lost ground after several years of uncertainty during which the development of its integration technology was bogged down and its most advantaged competitors, TSMC and Samsung, developed more advanced lithographic nodes. He’s not going to have it easy, but, apparently, he’s putting all the meat on the grill.
At the end of last October, Pat Gelsinger, the general director of this company, assured during an interview with The Wall Street Journal that his medium-term strategy in the field of the semiconductor industry involves having the best transistors and technology of the world’s most advanced integration by 2025. These are big words, especially considering that TSMC and Samsung have already started manufacturing 3nm chips.
Intel is currently producing its most advanced processors, the 13th generation Core with Raptor Lake hybrid microarchitecture, using its Intel 7 (10nm) photolithography, but its roadmap leaves no doubt about his ambition. And it is that it plans to have the Intel 3 node ready to start manufacturing during the second half of this year, as well as start the production of chips on Intel 20A (2nm) node during the first half of 2024. And, what is even more surprising, during the second half of next year it plans to have the 18A (1.8 nm) lithographic node ready.
Intel has already finished the development of its 2 and 1.8 nm photolithographs
It is not a leak of unknown origin. The person who has confirmed this news is, neither more nor less, Wang Rui, who is the president of the Intel subsidiary in China. What this company executive has asserted It is that their engineers have already completed the development of their 2 and 1.8 nm integration technologies, but this does not mean that they are ready to tackle the first chip manufacturing tests using these lithographs.
Intel is adopting a much more ambitious and aggressive strategy than the one it wielded just two years ago
In theory, what they have concluded is the development of the technologies, materials, specifications and requirements that they will use to produce integrated circuits. using those two lithographic nodes. It is a very important step forward, of that there is no doubt, but the large-scale production of chips using these technologies does not necessarily have to be just around the corner. In fact, Intel engineers may still have some challenges to navigate along the way.
Even so, this news confirms what we have exposed in the first lines of this article: Intel is adopting a much more ambitious and aggressive strategy than the one it wielded just two years ago. This turn of the helm must necessarily be fostered by the return to the company of Pat Gelsinger, a veteran engineer whose professional career has passed largely within Intel and who, just before returning to this company, was the leader of VMWare.
We’ll see what happens eventually. Apart from the plans that Intel has, it is not clear that it is really going to not only catch up with TSMC and Samsung in the short term, but also surpass both by developing more advanced lithographic processes. Be that as it may, there is no doubt about one thing: users are interested in these three companies be in the best possible shape.
If the three are able to develop several very competitive integration technologies, honey on flakes. Let them “stick” to each other. Competition stimulates innovation and often causes prices to moderate, and it is evident that it is the best that these companies can offer to users. There is no doubt about one thing: the next three years are going to be very exciting in the field of semiconductors.
Cover image: Intel