Intel’s next goal is the 7nm process and not the 5nm for now, although as you know they are something that has been in their plans for quite some time. At the Taipei Computer Show these days, the CEO of Intel said that the company has already completed the “Tape-in” of its Meteor Lake processors at 7nm, which means that they are getting closer and closer to meeting their goal and to catch up with TSMC and Samsung again.
Intel’s 5nm, on a par with TSMC’s 2nm?
Meteor Lake will be the debut architecture for Intel’s 7nm node, and they are slated to begin hitting the market in late 2022 or early 2023. 7nm Granite Rapids data center processors will also arrive in the same timeframe. .
The next step in the process is to achieve 5nm lithography. Intel executives did not give any clear information about it, but some analysts are already working with the data we have on these 5 nm from Intel and say that the density of transistors in the die of the wafers is about 400 MTr / mm2, which means that we will find 400 million transistors for every square millimeter of surface area, a figure that supposes multiplying by 4 the density of transistors that Intel has in its processors at 10 nm.
Experts point out that TSMC’s 2 nm manufacturing process has a density of 500 MTr / mm2, 500 million transistors per square millimeter of surface area, which means that between Intel’s 5 nm and TSMC’s 2 nm there would only be a difference of around 20%; In addition, in principle the 5 nm of Intel will have a similar performance to the 2 nm of TSMC, so its efficiency would be much higher.
Intel follows TSMC slipstream
However, the advantage that TSMC has in this regard is cost and production time; After all, TSMC already works on 2 nm while Intel’s 5 nm is for now just a project since right now their efforts are focused on 7 nm, although as we said at the beginning they have made a strong investment to set up the factories that will take care of it. With this we want to tell you that although Intel will be able to compare its 5 nm with TSMC’s 2 nm, they will arrive much later and by the time they arrive it is quite likely that TSMC has already refined and improved its production processes.
For now everything is still in the air and we could say that we are not talking more than smoke, at least until Intel puts the first processors with the new lithography on the table. We’ll see what happens, but we really do need to give Intel a vote of confidence because although it is obviously late, no other company has the potential to lag behind the giants TSMC and Samsung more than them.