My take: on 'Intel Accelerated'

July 27, 2021 // By Peter Clarke
My take: on 'Intel Accelerated'
The webcast entitled 'Intel Accelerated' was a welcome insight into what the US chip giant is doing to try and catch up with the semiconductor manufacturing leaders TSMC and Samsung. But it only represents the firm's aspiration There now has to be years of world-class execution.

The video was available here at the time of posting and my report of the technology announcements covered is here: Intel renames manufacturing nodes, tips RibbonFET, PowerVia.

The video is led by CEO Pat Gelsinger with support from Ann Kelleher, senior vice president of technology development, and others. There's some quantitative detail, plenty of hand-waving arguments but a technical presentation of sorts. It is also an hour of mood music to the tune of 'Intel's back'.

But assertions, roadmaps and enthusiasm are not achievements. Now Intel must execute on its 'new' roadmap faster than the competition can execute on theirs. And the competitors are already a couple of steps down the road. If Intel executes very well, it might, just might, be able to catch up with TSMC by 2025 and be a credible supplier of 2nm silicon.

Gelsinger was quite clear the company is on an annual cadence to introduce five process nodes across 4 four years. "The spirit of tik-tok is alive and well. We are just moving at a very torrid pace," Gelsinger said. The aim is to achieve process parity in terms of performance-per-watt by 2024 and "unquestioned leadership" in 2025.

Certainly there is little point in entering a race if you do not believe you can win, but I'm doubtful that Intel can get into the leadership position. Gelsinger's analogy was that in a bicycle race it is easier to accelerate from the number two position. Maybe, but perhaps Intel can at least stay in touch, and prevent the leading riders from breaking away.

It is what patriotic Amazon and Qualcomm are hoping will happen. These US companies have signed up as key customers to help Intel accelerate its technology journey in terms of packaging and foundry engagement.

Intel knows It needs to accelerate, hence the webcast. And Gelsinger is energetic and enthusiastic. But if wishes were horses, all would ride.

Next: Execute: Faster


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