Thursday March 30, 2017

Intel Defends Its Process-Technology Leadership at 14nm and 10nm

Intel would like to remind everyone to stop their worrying: they haven’t flinched from their power stance in light of murmurings that the company is stumbling in regard to its process technologies. It seems that some folks are worried that rivals are beating them at smaller processes, but Intel argues that pitch measurements only tell a small part of the story. There are already reports that their 10nm chips are a generation ahead of Samsung’s.

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The worry among investors and the analyst community, in turn, seems to be that Intel's competitors will beat it to the next process node advance. For just one example of this perceived threat, Qualcomm's upcoming Snapdragon 835 chip will be fabricated on Samsung's 10-nm process, and that chip (plus Samsung's Exynos 8895 SoC) will both be shipping soon in Samsung's Galaxy S8. MediaTek has previously announced plans to make its Helio X30 SoC on TSMC's 10-nm process, as well. That SoC could arrive sometime this year. Not so fast, Intel says. The company points out that pitch measurements are just one characteristic of a semiconductor product, and it feels that using these measurements alone to characterize process capabilities isn't painting a complete picture.