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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  • peevee - Thursday, May 9, 2019 - link

    "The question is what size will the base Xe die be before they scale up in number? 300 mm^2? 400 mm^2?"

    What is the point? They can have better yield on something really small, 50-100mm2, packaging is cheap and reliable.
  • Kevin G - Thursday, May 9, 2019 - link

    There is still a minimum size desirable. Too many smaller dies makes the packing complex. Easier to link together five 200 mm^2 dies than twenty 50 mm^2 dies. It is also simpler to have one side of the die match the dimension of a HBM module to simplify the design.
  • TristanSDX - Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - link

    this means that their GPU is pushed to 2021
  • JasonLD - Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - link

    no, it means first 7nm product will be their GPU. They will still release their first GPU on 10nm.
  • twtech - Thursday, May 9, 2019 - link

    I'm looking forward to getting a 28/32 core CPU for work. I had been hoping my company would buy it for me, but if they won't, I may end up buying it myself and working from home a bit more.
  • PeachNCream - Thursday, May 9, 2019 - link

    Translation - Consumer CPUs will be on 14nm until 2022 when high volume manufacturing begins and will be in short supply until 2023. That's a huge window for competitors with ARM chips and, of course, for AMD to exploit because they're using TSMC to fab.

    What happened with Intel? Someone goofed up ordering EUV equipment from ASML and they company is going to end up five years behind the competition when its said and done.
  • Rash1 - Thursday, May 9, 2019 - link

    Intel already can manufacturer 7nm chips but why ? Intel can not meet demand of it's 14nm+++ and now shipping 10nm for the first time with improved performance over previous gen. So, milk much as possible from 14nm+++ and 10nm than in two years, release 7nm. Good timing Intel.
  • Targon - Thursday, May 9, 2019 - link

    Where's the "improved performance"? If you look at what Intel put out, they are talking about efficiency....isn't that what all the people putting AMD down used to talk about when it came to AMD products? If you can't improve performance, then work on efficiency, but Intel hasn't improved IPC, clock speeds have been stagnant(if you look at what could be done three years ago if you would delid an Intel chip), so where's the true improvement in performance from Intel?

    AMD got its act together with Ryzen in 2017, second generation brought a 300MHz clock speed improvement plus 3-5% IPC improvement, and third generation will bring an estimated 13-15 percent IPC boost plus a significant clock speed improvement compared to second generation. The stuff from AMD isn't speculation about products that are still 1-2 years away from when consumers have access to them, it's only one to two months away.
  • HStewart - Sunday, May 12, 2019 - link

    I think it best to get information about 10nm directly from Source - Intel

    I am most excited about Lakefield - but it was interesting to see the performance comparing 10nm cpus physically running again existing 8th and 9th computers.

    I am desiring a portable always connected machine, and thought about it and ideally it would be compatible with software I run today on Windows. No need for iOS or Android and not emulated with ARM making applications slow. Lakefield is the answer.
  • HStewart - Sunday, May 12, 2019 - link

    One thing is that some rumors that Intel is out of 5G area is totally FALSE, look at the end of video of a product call Snowridge.

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