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Intel's Direct Connect conference highlights progress toward 5 nodes in 4 years goal, showcasing future roadmap and commitment to innovation

In 2021, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger made a bold pledge: Intel would deliver 5 nodes in 4 years, a promise that reverberated across the tech industry. This ambitious plan marked Intel's determined effort to reclaim its leadership in the foundry space, a position it had relinquished due to significant delays in the preceding decade. Despite calls from investors to divest Intel's fabs, Gelsinger charted a different course, opting for an unprecedented commitment to fab technologies, aiming to transform Intel into a comprehensive foundry service provider.

Fast forward two years, and Intel is beginning to witness the initial outcomes of this aggressive roadmap. Products leveraging Intel's first EUV-based node, Intel 4, are already available in the market, with its high-volume variant, Intel 3, also poised for deployment. Meanwhile, Intel is on the verge of introducing its pioneering Gate-All-Around (GAAFET)/RibbonFET technology by 2024 and 2025. This marks a pivotal juncture for the company, where the need to fulfill these promises becomes paramount.

To showcase its progress and future trajectory, Intel's Foundry group is hosting its inaugural conference, Direct Connect. This event not only serves as a platform for engaging with customers and the press but also signifies Intel's emergence as a significant player in the fab industry, a rarity in this expansive domain.

In addition to highlighting Intel's strides toward achieving its 5 nodes in 4 years objective, Direct Connect offers insights into the company's post-5-nodes roadmap. As Intel Foundry expands its capacity, customer base, and tooling, it eyes a slate of more advanced nodes and indispensable packaging technologies. While today's event may not match the audacity of Gelsinger's 2021 proclamation, it provides a crucial glimpse into Intel's trajectory over the next several years.

Among the noteworthy announcements, Intel Foundry Services undergoes a rebranding, simplifying to "Intel Foundry," symbolizing its comprehensive suite of foundry services, encompassing fabs, testing, and advanced packaging. This move underscores Intel's ambition to offer end-to-end chip production solutions, positioning itself as a one-stop shop for chip manufacturing needs. The company aims to attract diverse customers, including competitors like Arm, AMD, and NVIDIA, by offering a wide array of services and fostering an open ecosystem.

Looking ahead, Intel unveils its extended fab roadmap, introducing nodes beyond the initial 5. Notably, the successor to 18A, 14A, incorporates High-Numerical Aperture (High-NA) EUV, promising finer features without relying on multiple patterning. Intel's roadmap also features variations of major nodes, denoted by suffixes such as E (Feature Extension), P (Performance Improvement), and T (Through-Silicon Vias), offering enhanced capabilities tailored to diverse customer requirements.

Moreover, Intel underscores its commitment to fostering a robust ecosystem by collaborating with Electronic Design Automation (EDA) providers and Intellectual Property (IP) vendors. This collaboration ensures that external companies can seamlessly design chips for Intel's fabs, facilitating a smooth transition from an internal to an external ecosystem.

As Intel advances toward achieving its 5 nodes in 4 years goal, it emphasizes its progress and customer wins, signaling confidence in its trajectory. With Microsoft announced as one of its 18A customers, Intel solidifies its position as a significant player in the foundry business, poised to capitalize on emerging opportunities and technological advancements.

In conclusion, Intel's Direct Connect conference not only showcases its technological prowess and future roadmap but also underscores its commitment to driving innovation and collaboration in the semiconductor industry.

Intel's Direct Connect conference not only showcases its technological prowess and future roadmap
Intel's Direct Connect conference not only showcases its technological prowess and future roadmap

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