Forefront | Intel 7nm changed its name to Intel 4, abandoned “Nano” and embraced “Ami”, Qualcomm AWS became a foundry customer

Intel’s first Ami-level Intel 20A chip is expected to be launched in 2024.

At 5 a.m. Beijing time, Intel’s new CEO Pat Gelsinger announced that as the chip manufacturing process gets closer to 1nm, Intel will start a new naming system that will no longer be named after nanometers (nm). It is named after Intel 7, Intel 4, Intel 3, Intel 20A, etc.

Among them, Intel 7 is Intel’s previous 10nm Enhanced SuperFin technology, Intel 4 is Intel’s previous 7nm technology, and Intel 3 is a newer generation of technology.

Song Jiqiang, the dean of Intel China Research Institute, told 36Kr that, because various companies in the industry currently adopt different naming methods, it is difficult to directly compare Intel 3 with the 5nm and 3nm naming methods currently used by other companies on the market. Users can make horizontal comparisons based on product performance, transistor density and other parameters.

In addition, Intel announced several other developments:

1. The number of Intel 10nm wafers being produced has far exceeded the number of 14nm wafers produced in the same period.

2. Announce two breakthrough process technologies in the Emmy era: Intel’s first brand-new transistor architecture RibbonFET launched in the past ten years, and the industry’s first back-side power transmission network PowerVia.

3. AWS Amazon Cloud will be the first customer to adopt Intel’s foundry service (IFS) advanced packaging solutions, and Qualcomm will be the first customer to adopt Intel 20A advanced process technology.

Forefront | Intel 7nm changed its name to Intel 4, abandoned "Nano" and embraced "Ami", Qualcomm AWS became a foundry customer

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger (Pat Gelsinger), source: Intel

The industry’s description of “x nanometers” for chip process nodes originally refers to the actual gate length of the chip transistors. The smaller the number, the shorter the gate length, and the same area of ​​the chip can accommodate more transistors, and the performance will be improved. Increase accordingly.

However, Kissinger said that since 1997, other non-volume factors such as transistor operating speed, price, and energy efficiency ratio have also begun to play an important role in chip systems. At this time, the traditional “x nanometer” naming method no longer matches the actual gate length of the transistor.

Since Intel launched FinFET technology in 2011, the industry has almost completely abandoned the gate length naming system, and various companies have used their own technology paths, so that sometimes A’s 12nm performance is stronger than B’s 10nm performance The phenomenon.

Kissinger said that as current chip technology nodes continue to approach the 1nm limit, Intel has redesigned its own chip process naming system based on key technical parameters of performance, power consumption, and area.

Forefront | Intel 7nm changed its name to Intel 4, abandoned "Nano" and embraced "Ami", Qualcomm AWS became a foundry customer

Intel’s new process node naming, source: Intel

Specifically, Intel’s previous 10nm Enhanced SuperFin will be renamed Intel 7; Intel’s previous 7nm will be renamed Intel 4;

Compared with the previous generation, the performance per watt of Intel 4 has increased by about 20%, and it will be Intel’s first FinFET technology node that fully adopts EUV lithography technology. Intel 4 will be put into production in the second half of 2022 and shipped in 2023. Products include Meteor Lake for clients and Granite Rapids for data centers.

The technology node after Intel 7nm is named Intel 3;

Compared with Intel 4, Intel 3 will achieve an increase of about 18% in performance per watt, achieving a higher density and higher performance library; increasing the internal drive current; optimizing the interconnect metal stack by reducing through-hole resistance . Intel 3 will begin production of related products in the second half of 2023.

The next technology node after Intel 3, Intel named it Intel 20A. The value of A here is “Amm”, a commonly used unit of length in crystallography, atomic physics, and ultramicrostructure. Its length is one-tenth of a nanometer. Intel 20A is expected to be launched in 2024.

Intel said that this naming reflects the transition to a new era, that is, the era of engineers manufacturing devices and materials at the atomic level-the Ami era of semiconductors.

Intel launched the tempo for the advanced process technology, president of Intel China Research Institute Songji Jiang told krypton 36, according to the current Intel factory test, test, production-proven data feedback, the current time Intel advanced manufacturing process expected to be very confident , will Strictly follow this technical path to execute.

The aforementioned Intel’s first new transistor architecture RibbonFET and the industry’s first back-side power transmission network PowerVia are the two key technologies of the Emmy era.

Forefront | Intel 7nm changed its name to Intel 4, abandoned "Nano" and embraced "Ami", Qualcomm AWS became a foundry customer

RibbonFET and FinFET, source: Intel

RibbonFET is a Gate All Around transistor developed by Intel. It is the company’s first brand-new transistor architecture since the company first introduced FinFET in 2011. It provides faster transistor switching speed and achieves the same drive current as the multi-fin structure with a smaller footprint. . PowerVia can eliminate the need for power supply wiring on the front side of the wafer, optimize signal wiring, and reduce sagging and interference.

Intel also said that the 18A process node, which is more advanced than 20A , is also under development and will be launched in early 2025. It will improve the RibbonFET.

In addition, Intel is working closely with ASML and is expected to be the first to obtain the industry’s first High-NA EUV lithography machine, surpassing the current generation of EUV technology.

In terms of customers, Intel announced that AWS Amazon Cloud will be the first customer to adopt Intel’s Foundry Services (IFS) advanced packaging solutions, and Qualcomm will become a customer of Intel’s 20A advanced process technology.

Pat Kissinger said, “Intel has a clear path towards innovation beyond the ‘1 nanometer’ node in the next ten years . I want to say that Moore’s Law will not fail until the periodic table is exhausted. “

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