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Intel’s manufacturing technologies may be renamed


Yesterday, Intel launched its latest processor series “Rocket Lake”, better known by its model name Core 11000 series. For the first time since the 2015 Skylake architecture, Intel rebuilt the inside of the silicon and instead launched Cypress Cove – a backport by Sunny Cove which was intended for production on Intel’s nanometer process.

The new processor series is still manufactured at 14 nanometers, a manufacturing technology Intel has been sticking to since 2014. “Real” Cypress Cove and production of 10 nanometers we will instead get to know before the year 2021 is over, when the processor series “Alder Lake” is planned to debut. It is also relevant that Intel’s process of 10 nanometers largely corresponds to TSMC’s 7 nanometers, which is why the company is considering changing the name of the technology in the future.

An outdated Intelroadmap from 2019 for the entire 20s. Source: Wikichip

The information comes from Oregon Live, where Intel engineers are said to have been saddened by the question “why are you so far behind?” as a result of the company’s standstill of 14 nanometers when TSMC and Samsung manufacture circuits of 5 nanometers. During the week, Intel’s production manager Ann Kelleher is said to have informed employees that a name change “to comply with industry standards regarding naming” will take place.

It’s widely acknowledged in the industry that there is inconsistency and confusion in nanometer nomenclature, and it does not reflect the latest innovations at the transistor level. – Chelsea Hughes, Intel-talesperson

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A name change to better meet TSMC’s and Samsung’s technicians is expected to be high on the list for Intel’s priorities following the announcement of the company’s investment in contract manufacturing. When a possible name change is likely to take place, and for what, is not yet stated, but Intel’s technology of 7 nanometers is expected to be ready for manufacture with the processor family “Meteor Lake” in 2023.

The transition to what Intel calls 7 nanometers is expected to take place after TSMC switched to its technology N3 and what the Taiwanese company calls 3 nanometers. Details regarding the transistor density of Intel’s 7 nanometers are still unknown – but the company’s shrinkage has historically been very ambitious. Against this background, one would be surprised if Intel manages to place its 7-nanometer technology somewhere between TSMC’s N5 and N3 in terms of density.

We were slow on some of those transitions previously. We are out to be unquestioned leaders. – Pat Gelsinger, VD, Intel

However, Intel’s newly appointed CEO Pat Gelsinger is not said to be pleased that the company has lost its historic manufacturing management. He tells Oregon Live that the company has previously been “slow in some transitions”, but that the ambition is to take Intel back to a leading position. Gelsinger does not currently mention any concrete plans for how the whole thing will be achieved, but changing the name of the process 7 nanometers to, for example, 2 nanometers would of course achieve this – on paper.

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