Intel in the slow lane

February 25, 2019 //By Peter Clarke
Intel in the slow lane
A chart from market research firm IC Insights indicates the development of leading-edge nodes for manufacturing of logic at leading manufacturers and foundries and how Intel has been eclipsed by TSMC and Samsung in recent years.

The chart also shows that the last decade has shown the establishment of more variety of production processes, with the introduction of FDSOI, and increasing introduction of derivative versions of each process generation between major nodes.

It should be noted that what denotes a production node and the start of volume production varies from company to company and has become increasingly influenced by marketing.

It should also be noted that Globalfoundries, which was aiming at 7nm production, has now decided not to do so (see GloFo rethinks its future, drops 7nm FinFET ). Similarly UMC is content to compete just behind the leading edge with additional focus on application-specificity of process and packaging.

Once the clear manufacturing leader Intel has now fallen behind. Its 10nm process is expected to ramp in 2019 with the Sunny Cove family of processors that it unveiled in December 2018. A derivative 10nm+ process is expected to go into mass production in 2020. It recently said it was pulling out of foundry manufacturing having been unable to gain traction.

In the period covered by this chat TSMC has taken the manufacturing lead. Its 5nm process is under development and scheduled to enter risk production in 1H19, with volume production coming in 2020. The N7+ process will employ extreme ultraviolet lithography on about four critical layers while the N5 process will use EUV on up to 14 layers.

In contrast Samsung skipped offering a 7nm process with immersion lithography and decided instead to move directly to a EUV-based 7nm process.  The company is using EUV for 8 to 10 layers at 7nm.

Related links and articles:

www.icinsights.com

News articles:

Report: Order downturn to leave TSMC with spare 7nm capacity

Samsung launches 7nm EUV process, SAFE partnership

GloFo rethinks its future, drops 7nm FinFET

5nm tape outs to come 1H19, says TSMC


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