Intel provided an update regarding its upcoming fabrication technologies at its 2019 Investor Meeting. The company is on track to produce server-class products using its 10 nm manufacturing technology already in the first half of 2020, which is something that the company implied on for a while now, but never confirmed officially. What is relatively surprising is that Intel intends to start production of ccommercial chips using its 7 nm process already in 2021.

Intel’s 7 nm production technology had been in development independently from the 10 nm process and by a different crew, so this one is closer than one might think. The node is set to use extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUVL) with laser wavelength of 13.5 nm for select layers, so it will not heavily rely on multipatterning, a major source of problems with Intel’s 10 nm process. In fact, the use of EUV will simplify development of products, make it easier to produce them, and will likely shorten production cycle times too.

The first product to use Intel's 7 nm process technology will be Intel's Xe-architecture-based GP-GPU in 2021. The GPU will not only be made using Intel’s most advanced node, but will also us Intel’s Intel’s Embedded Die Interconnect Bridge (EMIB) technology as well as Foveros silicon stacking technique, which confirms that the product is not a monolithic design.

Speaking of non-monolithic designs, it is noteworthy that Intel considers its innovative chip packaging technologies no less important than its new nodes, so expect things like EMIB and Foveros to be a big part of Intel's future.

While Intel's first 7 nm product will be launched in 2021, Intel stresses that high-volume manufacturing (HVM) using the technology will begin in 2022 when the technology will be used not only for a server GPU, but also a server CPU. So, expect more 7 nm products three or four years down the road.

Late last year Intel announced a major plan to upgrade a number of its fabs for next-generation process technologies. Officially, Intel is equipping its Fab 42 in Arizona to make chips using its 7 nm fabrication process. Meanwhile, given the scope of Intel’s upgrade plan, which includes fabs in Oregon, Ireland, and Israel, it looks like the company might have other fabs ready for 7 nm by 2021 - 2022 timeframe.

Meanwhile, as Intel intends to refine all of its fabrication processes in the same manner as it did with its 14 nm node, expect Intel's 10 nm to co-exist with 7 nm for years.

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Source: Intel

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  • Santoval - Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - link

    If this is real it must be either from a very early engineering sample or Geekbench has trouble running on the new arch. By the way, the size of the caches is consistent with what Intel has disclosed about Sunny Cove :
    They said "50% increase in the size of L1 data cache", well the L1D cache of the mystery processor is 48 KB.
    They said "Larger L2 cache", well that went up to 512 KB, just like Ryzen.
    I wonder if the L2 cache of the X and SP processors will also increase in size. Perhaps they can afford 1.5 to 2 MB L2 cache due to the 10nm node.
  • Santoval - Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - link

    "5Ghz on current Intel architexture - may be slower than 3Ghz on Sunny Cove."
    No, that's impossible. The architectures are not that different. Sunny Cove is a marginal, evolutionary redesign of the Skylake arch. Intel's true redesign is going to be Ocean Cove, Golden Cove's successor (after Sunny, Willow and Golden Cove, so we are talking about an early 2023 launch assuming zero delays with either of these three Coves).

    Bearing also in mind that Intel's 10nm+ node will still not perform as good as Intel's 14nm++ node, a Sunny Cove core clocked at 4.5 GHz will, at best, perform as good as a select Intel 5 GHz clocked core, though at a quite lower TDP.
  • hMunster - Thursday, May 9, 2019 - link

    There is no way at all that Intel will nearly double single-core performance that way. We are lucky if we get more than 10% at the same clock speed.
  • peevee - Thursday, May 9, 2019 - link

    "5Ghz on current Intel architexture - may be slower than 3Ghz on Sunny Cove"

    At this point it is not possible anymore on real software of today (unless you are going to compare some future AVX512 implementation to AVX2 on some artificial tests). If anything, mitigations for various security flaws require LESS OoO, not more.
  • shabby - Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - link

    It will reach 5ghz... on a single core.
  • peevee - Thursday, May 9, 2019 - link

    ... for 1ns before melting.
  • schujj07 - Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - link

    This said nothing about desktop, only server. That probably means 2H 2020 for 10nm desktop as server has much higher margins to recoup their capital expense.
  • TristanSDX - Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - link

    look at slides from their financial results. Profit margins for server are on the same level as desktop, suprise.
  • HStewart - Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - link

    Desktop sales are lower than server and especially mobile.
  • Korguz - Thursday, May 9, 2019 - link

    do you have a link to back this claim up??

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