Wednesday, March 31st 2021

Intel Could Rename its Semiconductor Nodes to Catch Up with the Industry

In the past few years, Intel has struggled a lot with its semiconductor manufacturing. Starting from the 10 nm fiasco, the company delayed the new node for years and years, making it seem like it is never going to get delivered. The node was believed to be so advanced that it was unexpectedly hard to manufacture, giving the company more problems. Low yields have been present for a long time, and it is only recently that Intel has started shipping its 10 nm products. However, its competitor, TSMC, has been pumping out nodes at an amazing rate. At the time of writing, the Taiwanese giant is producing the 5 nm node, with a 4 nm node on the way.

So to remain competitive, Intel would need to apply a new tactic. The company has a 7 nm node in the works for 2023 when TSMC will switch to the 3 nm+ nodes. That represents a marketing problem, where the node naming convention is making Intel inferior to its competitors. To fix that, the company will likely start node renaming and give its nodes new names, that are corresponding to the industry naming conventions. We still have no information how will the new names look like, or if Intel will do it in the first place, so take this with a grain of salt.
Source: Oregon Live
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60 Comments on Intel Could Rename its Semiconductor Nodes to Catch Up with the Industry

#1
LTUGamer
Renaming will not solve technical issues
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#2
Crackong
10nm superfin

5nm SuperX2 Velocity Ultrafin
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#3
Fouquin
Most of the industry names are made up anyway so sure go for it. Just lie harder.
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#4
mtcn77
Intel had the things under cover until they missed out on the Lasertec bandwagon. They really had to have it to verify the EUV masks in a timely fashion. Now that ASML announces they have attained the necessary goals, but you cannot have process lithography without the mask verification tools.
I hope Intel comes out strong and comes dedicated this time.
The Lasertec hesitation is next to the Apple offer they turned down.
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#5
londiste
LTUGamerRenaming will not solve technical issues
It is not intended to. Aligning with rest of the industry makes things more straightforward to reviewers and consumers alike. And it does not really matter here whether the process node designation is technically correct or not.
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#6
las
Maybe they should. Because alot of fabs are too optimistic about their processnames.

GloFo 12nm was/is far worse than Intel 14nm for example.

Samsung 8nm is not great, but decent - Its probably worse than Intel 10nm

Intels 10nm, is more like TSMC 7nm.
I expect Intel 7nm will be more like TSMC 5nm or even 4nm.

If just performance and watt-usage is good, they can call it whatever they want, could not care less

The next few years are going to be interesting. Can't wait for next gen CPU platforms in 2022+ with DDR5 and PCIe 5.0, not going to get anything before DDR5 has matured (high clocks with decent timings - not going from top-end DDR4 to mediocre DDR5 on launch, thats for sure).
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#7
dj-electric
Works great for Tsmc and Samsung, should also work for Intel
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#8
mtcn77
lasSamsung 8nm is not great, but decent - Its probably worse than Intel 10nm
Just to point out what Intel has been missing, I would not call this anything but a great jump;
Samsung has said that the move lets it use chip area 40 percent more efficiently, improves performance by 20 percent and halves power consumption.
The competition with EUV is technologic disaster.
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#9
londiste
lasGloFo 12nm was/is far worse than Intel 14nm for example.
Samsung 8nm is not great, but decent - Its probably worse than Intel 10nm
Intels 10nm, is more like TSMC 7nm.
I expect Intel 7nm will be more like TSMC 5nm or even 4nm.
GloFo 12nm is not exactly far worse. What Intel excelled at is squeezing more frequency out of their 14nm and they did (do?) have a lot of time for that.
Samsung 8nm is 10nm-class process, half-node between 12/14nm and 7nm.
Intel 10nm is roughly equal to TSMC/Samsung 7nm.
From what is known Intel's 7nm should be about on par with TSMC/Samsung 5nm.
TSMC N4 is an updated N5(P) and not a new full node (in line with plus jokes about Intel processes, this one could be named 5++).
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#10
silentbogo
I'm sorry... :laugh: They are just asking for vulgar jokes.... :D:D:D
Since process is measured by the smallest feature, they are probably transitioning from fin-measuring contest to measuring only the tip of the fin :pimp:
"Tech node doesn't matter, it's how you use it"

lasGloFo 12nm was/is far worse than Intel 14nm for example.
But it was/is cheaper. R5 1600AF still sells like hotcakes, and all these years later it's still the best bang for the buck. Bought two of them a couple of weeks ago. One is going to my friend's video editing rig, and another one will be my new AM4 test CPU: in my area it costs only $30 more than the cheapest R3 or Athlon, and I'm talking "brand new".
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#11
Bwaze
Do we even know the density of finalized Intel's 10nm products as they are shipped now?

I know there was a lot of marketing material that compared it to TSMC's 7nm, but that was before Intel actually managed to ship a product on that process, and in between the confessed they had to lower the specs and density to make it work even for 4 core low power laptop processors.
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#12
las
londisteGloFo 12nm is not exactly far worse. What Intel excelled at is squeezing more frequency out of their 14nm and they did (do?) have a lot of time for that.
Samsung 8nm is 10nm-class process, half-node between 12/14nm and 7nm.
Intel 10nm is roughly equal to TSMC/Samsung 7nm.
From what is known Intel's 7nm should be about on par with TSMC/Samsung 5nm.
TSMC N4 is an updated N5(P) and not a new full node (in line with plus jokes about Intel processes, this one could be named 5++).
Far worse, as in clockspeeds were really bad. IMO Ryzen 1000 was not great and 2000 were not much better. With 3000 series, it began to get interresting. 5000 series is the first I would personally buy for a gaming PC, but my 9900K still holds up and it won't be much of an upgrade if any, considering im at 5.2 GHz using 4000/CL15 memory. SO, next gen is going to be interresting, I hope AMD can keep up the pace when Intel actually leaves 14nm. AMD needs to be able to compete WITHOUT Intel being stuck on a dated node. I'd get 5800X if I needed to buy today. Luckily I don't and can wait out next gen platforms.
silentbogoI'm sorry... :laugh: They are just asking for vulgar jokes.... :D:D:D
Since process is measured by the smallest feature, they are probably transitioning from fin-measuring contest to measuring only the tip of the fin :pimp:
"Tech node doesn't matter, it's how you use it"



But it was/is cheaper. R5 1600AF still sells like hotcakes, and all these years later it's still the best bang for the buck. Bought two of them a couple of weeks ago. One is going to my friend's video editing rig, and another one will be my new AM4 test CPU: in my area it costs only $30 more than the cheapest R3 or Athlon, and I'm talking "brand new".
I'd never buy or recommend Ryzen 1600 today, it's slow with terrible clockspeeds and IPC. Ryzen 3600 is a far better buy for not much more, or Ryzen 2600 as BARE MINIMUM, for a entry level / low-end rig, that still work for most none-demanding gamers - don't expect high fps gaming with a CPU like that. It's mostly for sub 100 fps gaming. Ryzen 1600 and 2600 are really slow compared to 3600 and especially 5600X (5600 soon). B450/B550 + Ryzen 2600/3600 is good value, personally I would not even consider 2600 tho, 3600 and up for sure.

And no, Ryzen 1600 does not sell like hotcakes at all. I know, since I work in the retail b2b market EU. Ryzen 1000 series is pretty much NOT SELLING at all at this point. 2000 series still does to a small degree, but it's mostly 3000 and 5000 series at this point + 400/500 chipset boards

Intel 10400 is easily beating Ryzen 1600 and 2600 for the same price in pretty much everything, especially in gaming and when paired with a board that allows boost clocks to go high like Asrock's BFB feature.
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#13
Vya Domus
No, what's making Intel's manufacturing process inferior is not the name, it's the fact that it is indeed inferior.
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#14
TumbleGeorge
All lithography nodes from years are named with fake numbers. From all manufacturers. Just marketing.
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#15
londiste
Zen2: 3.8 billion transistors on 74 mm² - 52 MTr/mm²
Zen3: 4.15 billion transistors on 80.6 mm² - 51.4 MTr/mm²
Renoir: 9.8 billion transistors on 156 mm² - 62.8 MTr/mm²

Intel transistors counts are really hard to come by. There was a throwaway comment in some financial call right after Ice Lake release saying it has over 7B transistors.
Ice Lake die that was the only one out at that point is 122.5 mm² which puts density at about 57 MTr/mm².
Same ballpark. Amount of different elements in the die (cache, GPU etc) probably play a bigger role in density of a specific chip at this point than manufacturing process.
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#16
Vya Domus
TumbleGeorgeAll lithography nodes from years are named with fake numbers. From all manufacturers. Just marketing.
Nah, it's still loosely related to the smallest feature size but changing the name of your node in hope that this will somehow make people like your products more is hilarious.
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#17
elghinnarisa
lasHow can you speak about inferior, when you are using a Ryzen 1000 series chip? WHY ON EARTH have you not upgraded to 3000 or better when your board supports it.
There are actually people out there that do not requires the latest and fastest just for the sake of having it. I still have a old Phenom 2 x6 machine that I use daily, it does exactly what it needs to do and it does it solid as a rock after all these years.
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#18
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
lasHow can you speak about inferior, when you are using a Ryzen 1000 series chip? WHY ON EARTH have you not upgraded to 3000 or better when your board supports it.
Irrelevant. We're talking about process nodes and not microarchitectures.
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#19
stimpy88
The desperation of Intel, now resorting to cheating. The next question is, will they cheat like TSMC, who are light to moderate cheaters, or will they pull a Samsung, and have a 10nm node, and call it 3nm?

Very disappointing to hear Intel doing this, I thought they had higher technical standards. But now their technical standards will be as nasty as their marketing ones!
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#20
1d10t
Pick a cool new name for their own node but at the same time outsourcing to TSMC. Oh the irony.
Come to think of it, nothing to lose for them, they could act as middle man for TSMC, Samsung or GloFo :p
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#21
silentbogo
lasI'd never buy or recommend Ryzen 1600 today, it's slow with terrible clockspeeds and IPC. Ryzen 3600 is a far better buy for not much more, or Ryzen 2600 as BARE MINIMUM
1600AF is essentially 2600, only 1-2% slower (-200MHz base, -100MHz boost, same Zen+ die). And it seems like we have a bit different understanding of "not much more" for R5 3600. It's $130 vs $260, at least in my area. Basically you save half the price for 20-25% performance penalty. At that sub-$200 price range all you have is OEM R5 3500X, R3 3100/3300X which for some reason is always out of stock, or 3200G. 3500X is a cutdown version of 3600 with HT disabled, and while single-core performance is better, multi-core is within the margin of error comparing to 1600AF. And it's still more expensive.
Just because you don't buy it doesn't mean that the rest of the world doesn't.
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#22
Kohl Baas
silentbogoSince process is measured by the smallest feature,
Well, to be honest, the last time that was true was I think 130nm. Since than, the "nm" is actually not the smallest feature, just a naming.

That is why an ever growing number of industry specialists is urging to drop the nm numbers as a naming and create something that is more informative about density, height and such.
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#23
Vayra86
mtcn77Just to point out what Intel has been missing, I would not call this anything but a great jump;

The competition with EUV is technologic disaster.
Yep... EUV is the big one for the current nodes. If you're not playing the ASML game, you're not playing.

No amount of marketing will change that.
londisteZen2: 3.8 billion transistors on 74 mm² - 52 MTr/mm²
Zen3: 4.15 billion transistors on 80.6 mm² - 51.4 MTr/mm²
Renoir: 9.8 billion transistors on 156 mm² - 62.8 MTr/mm²

Intel transistors counts are really hard to come by. There was a throwaway comment in some financial call right after Ice Lake release saying it has over 7B transistors.
Ice Lake die that was the only one out at that point is 122.5 mm² which puts density at about 57 MTr/mm².
Same ballpark. Amount of different elements in the die (cache, GPU etc) probably play a bigger role in density of a specific chip at this point than manufacturing process.
Yeah what I've seen so far also puts Intel at around 50-60. Perhaps that's one reason for Big.little, a bit more leeway to play with densities on different core designs to keep 10nm within spec.
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#24
yeeeeman
Well, given the fact that intel 10nm has the same density and characteristics, presumably, as the TSMC 7nm, then I think it is well deserved to do so. Samsung 5nm is also similar to TSMC 7nm, so everyone is trying to seem better then they actually are and funny enough, Intel is the most conservative right now with their naming. So stop being stupid and haters.
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#25
las
elghinnarisaThere are actually people out there that do not requires the latest and fastest just for the sake of having it. I still have a old Phenom 2 x6 machine that I use daily, it does exactly what it needs to do and it does it solid as a rock after all these years.
If you can live with Ryzen 1600 performance, you might as well pick up an old Intel combo with BOARD, MEM and CPU for less than a new Ryzen 1600 and get identical performance if not better in gaming.

My old 2600K ran 5 GHz and easily beat Ryzen 1600 @ 4 GHz in 99.9% og games and applications

I'd never buy or recommend Ryzen 1000 series from NEW, probably not 2000 series either, unless it's cheap as dirt on sale, it's 3000 or 5000 series
silentbogo1600AF is essentially 2600, only 1-2% slower (-200MHz base, -100MHz boost, same Zen+ die). And it seems like we have a bit different understanding of "not much more" for R5 3600. It's $130 vs $260, at least in my area. Basically you save half the price for 20-25% performance penalty. At that sub-$200 price range all you have is OEM R5 3500X, R3 3100/3300X which for some reason is always out of stock, or 3200G. 3500X is a cutdown version of 3600 with HT disabled, and while single-core performance is better, multi-core is within the margin of error comparing to 1600AF. And it's still more expensive.
Just because you don't buy it doesn't mean that the rest of the world doesn't.
Once again, I work with b2b sales and we have tons of huge retailers onboard, Ryzen 1000 is NOT selling like hotcakes, far from it.

What sells like hotcakes, especially in the laptop segment, is Intel, Intel and more Intel. Why? AMD can't deliver. Intel easily can, because they make their chips themself.

I think we ship 1 AMD laptop for every 100 Intel laptop, or so.
AquinusIrrelevant. We're talking about process nodes and not microarchitectures.
Irellevant, when someone with a Glofo 12nm calls Intel 14nm inferior? Yeah :laugh: :laugh: Suuuuuure.

TSMC is literally the reason why 3000 and especially 5000 performs great. If AMD were stuck with Glofo still, it would be a whole different story, with subpar clockspeeds like all 1000 and 2000 series chips.
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