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Intel's new technology "stuck" helpless to help rivals, but in fact quietly waiting for the outbreak

date: 2019-08-28
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Intel has had a rough time recently, with the 10nm process being repeatedly cancelled, and the 14nm production capacity running low, as well as pressure from rivals TSMC and samsung to produce 7nm in volume.A few years ago, the Intel, it seems to have been in the process of the war gradually fell behind the pace of The Times.


South Korean news outlet Sedialy recently reported that Intel is seeking to address a 14nm manufacturing shortage by partnering with samsung electronics co., another semiconductor giant, in the hope that samsung electronics co., which makes 14nm processors, will be able to alleviate the problem.


Intel had no choice but to turn to samsung for 10nm or the biggest culprit


Intel's own products have long been made almost entirely in its own factories. Digging into the history of its product line, the chip giant has only ever outsourced its Intel XMM 7260/7360 baseband chips to TSMC, which supplied them to apple.But since the 10nm rollout, Intel has poured resources into improving the 10nm yield, disrupting the original schedule.Instead of using a new process, it is now forced to use 14nm processors, but with the 7nm cpus being shipped in bulk by yoc, Intel is unlikely to invest in a new 14nm line.


From a commercial point of view, the editor believes that Intel to find samsung OEM processors is a wise move.On their own, after all, the more advanced process soon can production, the main CPU business is solely to 10 nm process, if the construction of 14 nm production line, means that once after 10 nm production, excess capacity will of 14 nm and Intel has always been not to accept OEM orders, so now looking for the third generation of the union is the most economical solution.


Are samsung, TSMC and Intel really being surpassed?


Looking back at Intel's development process, since its 180nm process in 1999, Intel has been upgrading its manufacturing process every two years, interwoven with upgrading its microarchitecture.However, the evolution of such technology changed in 2014.In fact, in the process roadmap announced in 2013, Intel planned to start shipping 10nm processors by the end of 2015. It took four years.


During those four years, Intel fell behind rivals such as TSMC and samsung in manufacturing for the first time in its history.The reason, according to the editors, is that Intel is still relying entirely on the traditional 193nm DUV(deep ultraviolet lithography), but the 193nm source theoretically starts approaching the diffraction limit at 90nm and cannot be exposed directly on the wafer.This would require multiple exposures to make finer circuits, which would result in a cumbersome manufacturing process and a very low yield, as well as a significant increase in cost. Intel's pioneering SAQP(self-aligned quadruple exposure) at 10nm is one of the difficulties.


By contrast, Taiwan semiconductor manufacturing co., the most aggressive manufacturer in the manufacturing process, has gone from 10nm in the 17th year to 7nm in the 18th year.After all, in the past, the industry agreed that the physical limit of silicon-based semiconductors is around 5nm, and the most optimistic is only 3nm, so this announcement by TSMC is quite impressive.By contrast, Intel seems to have fallen behind youshang for two generations in the research and development of real manufacturing process. Is it true that Intel, which used to take manufacturing process as its biggest advantage, cannot squeeze out the toothpaste?That may not be the case.


As we all know, the measure of semiconductor technology is not only the smaller the better, but also the number of transistors per square millimeter.According to the data, taking 10nm as an example, Intel's 10nm transistor density is 100.8MTr/mm2, which is twice as much as samsung's 10nm. Even compared with samsung and TSMC's 7nm, Intel still has a small lead, but compared with previous generations, the gap has been almost erased.As Mark Bohr, Intel's director of process architecture and integration and an IEEE fellow, says, 'perhaps because further process upgrades are getting harder, some companies are going against Moore's law.Even though the density of transistors has increased little or not at all, they continue to push ahead with the naming of new generation process nodes.As a result, process node names simply don't show where the process is on the Moore's law curve.'


Summary:


While Intel is still statistically ahead of its peers in technology, they face a real problem.Indeed, the manufacturing process war between samsung and TSMC has been well received in the market. The so-called '7nm' process has been well received by enterprises and users.What's more, the biggest challenge for Intel comes from its old rival, AMD.In recent years, AMD relies on TSMC's 12nm and 7nm technology to complete the 'remarkable turnaround' in processor performance and power consumption, and has excellent performance in both PC and server markets, and is gradually cannibalizing Intel's market share.Therefore, if Intel slows down its pace due to its long lead in the past, it still does not speed up its research and development process under the step by step of samsung and TSMC. When Intel completes its 'self-cultivation', it is likely to be abandoned by the market.


But from the editor's personal point of view, this phenomenon is too 'grandiose'.Nowadays, the battle between samsung and TSMC over manufacturing process has set off a 'wind of exaggeration' in the industry, which seems to have forgotten the true meaning of 'Moore's law'.According to the editors, as the physical process of silicon-based semiconductor approaches the limit, the pursuit of the limit size is not a long-term solution, and how to reduce the leakage rate of transistors at high density is one of the important directions.If Moore's law fails, the slow growth of the semiconductor industry will affect the progress of the entire technology industry.So, until better semiconductor materials than silicon can be mass-produced, it may be the most rational strategy for Intel to stick to Moore's law and build technology to explode.


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