Intel has just announced its plans for the technologies used to produce the company’s future generations of processors, and we have to admit that these are very ambitious. However, it has not been without some controversy.
Intel decided to make changes in the naming of its technology processes, changed the names for the two already announced lithographs, and also revealed the schedule for its products for 2023-2024. But before we go any further, it’s worth first outlining the context – the Santa Clara giant is clearly late compared to its competitors, which already offer 7 nm and even 5 nm chips, as it had quite a lot of trouble implementing 10 nm CPUs and it’s only this year that the first such Blue processors for desktop platforms will appear. However, it looks like Intel is going to catch up with the competition. at least in the naming of its new lithographs.
And yes, the Intel 10nm Enhanced SuperFin process has been renamed Intel 7. The manufacturer revealed that this lithography is now in mass production and will see a 10 to 15% increase in performance per watt over the base 10nm SuperFin technology. This lithography will be used to produce Alder Lake processors (these will debut in the fall, introducing an innovative hybrid architecture that combines high-performance cores with energy-efficient ones) and Sapphire Rapids (server chips planned for next year).
Intel 4, on the other hand, is a process that was previously known as 7 nm. The manufacturer promises a 20% increase in performance per watt over Intel 7. This technology will use EUV (extreme far ultraviolet) lithography. The first products using Intel 4 will be the Meteor Lake and Granite Rapids CPUs (we’re talking about distant releases here, late next year at the earliest). In the second half of 2023, Intel will also introduce Intel 3 lithography, which will provide an 18% performance gain per watt and feature a denser HP library, and the company has also promised increased use of EUV.
It doesn’t stop there though, as the Intel 20A technology process was also announced, which will debut in the first half of 2024. A stands for angstrom, a metric unit of 0.1 nanometer size – so 20A will actually be a nifty name for 2 nm. This lithography will introduce a new transistor architecture known as RibbonFET and innovative PowerVia interconnects. The company has not yet confirmed which product will use Intel 20A. There’s no denying that Intel’s new lithography names are causing quite a bit of confusion, as they seem to imply the use of a smaller size than it actually is, presumably to help compete with competitors at least on a marketing level.