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Intel CEO Reiterates: 2024 Will Achieve Process Leadership

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Bloomberg information reported that Intel’s chief executive officer Kissinger (Pat Gelsinger) said Intel is expected to reach an important technology milestone ahead of schedule to regain its technological leadership and will regain the foundry process throne at the end of 2024, earlier than the previous target of 2025.

Bloomberg information reported that Intel’s chief executive officer Kissinger (Pat Gelsinger) said Intel is expected to reach an important technology milestone ahead of schedule to regain its technological leadership and will regain the foundry process throne at the end of 2024, earlier than the previous target of 2025.

Kissinger took over Intel last year and has been trying to restore Intel in the hands of the former chief executive who lost the semiconductor process technology leadership to reverse the competitive disadvantage with TSMC, Samsung. But to achieve this goal must be modified, upgrading the existing plant equipment can not. Kissinger originally promised investors that Intel will reach this goal in 2025. But he said in an interview with Bloomberg TV on the 29th: “Now, we think it will be at the end of 2024.

Since Kissinger took over as chief executive in February last year, Intel has announced a series of large investment projects, betting heavily on the construction of fabs in the United States and Europe, in an effort to get Intel back on track and expand towards new markets.

So far, this task appears to be extremely challenging. The financial test is not as expected, Intel shares closed down 6.9% to $ 43.59 on the 29th, down about 19% in the past year. Personal computer (PC) sales slowed, affecting Intel’s PC processor revenue outlook; some Wall Street analysts also questioned, that Kissinger’s turnaround plan faces daunting challenges.

Kissinger reiterated that he believes that the second half of 2022 will enter a period of accelerated growth in demand and orders.

Over the past year, the semiconductor industry oversupply, affecting the manufacturing of cars, iPhones, and other forestry products. Kissinger believes that the shortage of chip production may continue until 2024, the same as the previous forecast.

Kissinger was interviewed for the CNBC program. He stated that the shortage of chips could persist until the year following the year. The main issue is that the supply of manufacturing equipment is not sufficient and the growth of capacity creates difficulties. Kissinger declared: “Partly, for this reason, we believe that overall, the semiconductor shortage will continue until 2024, longer than our previous estimate of 2023, simply because today even the equipment is experiencing shortages, making the challenge of increasing production intensifies.”

2024, could turn out to be a pivotal year?

According to Intel’s most recent roadmap, the process will begin at the time indicated below.

By 2022 Intel launches its new 4nm processing technology for being the only time Intel has utilized EUV equipment. The new technology will provide an increase of 20% in performance over 7nm. Intel has previously mentioned the possibility of a 2x increase in density for this model, but the current version says “significant density increase”, that we estimate at 1.8x.

Samsung 3nm that is likely to be utilized only to use internally, offers an 1.35x density boost as well as 35% improvement in performance with the same power and 50% reduction in power for the same speed. Its improvement in density isn’t remarkable, but the power and performance improvements could be because of the utilization in HNS technologies. TSMC 3nm technology, based on FinFETs, is expected to offer approximately 1.6x density increase and a 10% improvement in performance with the same power and a 25% reduction in power with the same efficiency.

By 2023 Intel is expected to launch its 3nm technology, which will have 18% higher performance with more dense libraries and increased EUV use. We anticipate an 1.09x growth in the density of 3nm, which makes it more of an equivalent half-node. Samsung 3GAP should be accessible for customers who are not customers of Samsung and TSMC 3nm parts will be available on the iPhone.

Intel’s Intel 20A (20A = 2nm) process will be launched in the first quarter of 2024. The new node will provide an increase of 15% in performance. It will be the first Intel HNS (they refer to it as RibbonFET) and will also be introducing backside power (they refer to it as PowerVia). The backside power supply will address IR power degrading while also making front-end interconnects more efficient. The power density of this method is 1.6x greater than the prior generation.

Intel 18A is expected to be released in 2024. Intel 18A process will arrive within the second half 2024, and will provide the performance of 10% better. We anticipate that there will be a 1.06x more density which makes this another half-node. The process is already in the beginning in 2025. Intel claims they have already provided test equipment to their customers.

In the second quarter in 2025 Samsung 2nm’s technology will be revealed and we are expecting it to be HNS , as it is Samsung’s third generation HNS (counting 3GAE as the initial generation and GAP as second) While their prior generations have had a relatively small increase in density and our forecast of 1.9x.

TSMC has yet to announce their 2nm process yet, however they have said they have stated that they would like to have the top process in 2025. The 2nm process could be announced in 2024, however for the moment we’re placing it in 2025. In that year, we anticipate using HNS and expect an 1.33x increase in density. We think that the increase in density will be small because it’s the first time TSMC has used HNS and the 3nm process is packed with electrons, further improvement will be more challenging.

Figure 9 shows what Intel is able to “flip the script” on the foundry, by doing 4 nodes , and the foundry performing 2 nodes.

Figure 9

 

We can now see how Intel, Samsung, and TSMC’s densities compare by 2025. We have also added IBM’s 2nm research facility based on their 2nm announcement. Figure 10 shows the density versus year and node.

Figure 10

Based on Figure 10 we can expect TSMC to keep its leading position in density through 2025.

The most difficult portion of our analysis as illustrated in Figure 11, where we examine the performance of different processes. In the absence of the same design across different processes, it’s hard to evaluate processes against one another in order to get results, and this seldom occurs. The method we used to create the graph is as follows.

Apple A9 is in production on Samsung 14nm and TSMC 16nm. Tom’s hardware showed the same performance in both of them We have also standardized this Node’s performance with Samsung or TSMC1.

From the 14/16nm node up to 3nm We utilized the company’s announcement of improvements in performance to plot the relative performance. For 2nm, we’ve utilized our own forecasts.

We don’t have designs that are running on Intel processes or Samsung as well as TSMC. But each AMD and Intel make X86 microprocessors. AMD’s microprocessor that uses the 7nm process of TSMC is already competing with Intel’s Superfine 10nm processor that has similar performance. In addition, we have set Intel 10SF to achieve the same speed the same way as TSMC 7nm. This isn’t ideal as both companies are equally successful with regards to design, however, it is the most accurate comparison. Then we extended all the other Intel nodes to the 10SF in accordance with Intel’s announcement.

Once again, we put IBM’s 2nm on this chart based on IBM’s 2nm announcement.

Figure 12

Our analysis leads us to believe that Intel may be able to achieve a performance lead on a year and node basis. This is consistent with Intel’s stated goal of “performance leadership per watt”. Assuming TSMC is referring to density, they may also be correct in claiming they will have the best process by 2025.

In short, we believe Intel can significantly accelerate its process development at a time when foundries are struggling. While we do not expect Intel to regain the density lead in the time frame studied, we do believe they can recapture the performance lead.

We should have good news on progress again by the end of 2022 when we see if Intel’s 4nm comes out on time.

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