Intel may not be a company that puts on an entertaining show, but it has put together some great engineering teams that have revolutionized the semiconductor industry for decades. While the past few years have been a low point for Intel in terms of innovation, it seems like everything is about to come to an end. There is a lot of hype surrounding the company’s next 12th generation 10nm Desktop CPUs “Alder Lake” This fall, but Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel, looks particularly confident about the next four years. During the day Intel Accelerated WebcastGelsinger, a roadmap for Intel’s manufacturing developments all the way to 2025.
There’s been a lot discussed by many of the leaders at Intel, but the basic idea is that each generation of new processors should make impressive gains again like what AMD has consistently done with its Zen architectures. Besides providing some timelines for its roadmap, Intel has also announced plans to rename its contract terms.
If you find 14nm++++++ a rather silly thing, well, Intel finally agrees with you. Going forward, Intel will instead refer to its nodes in more ways than its competitors. For example, Intel 7 is a new term for the 10 nm node that appears on Alder Lake. This brings the terminology in line with the TSMC 7nm node and is also convenient because it will offer similar performance.
Not every new node will necessarily represent a node shrinkage, but it will represent an important performance revision that will translate into better processors, and yes, better games. Intel currently sells 10nm processors in its Tiger Lake laptops, but Alder Lake will benefit from 10-15% performance per watt when it launches this fall.
From there, Intel will transition to an “Intel 4” 7nm node for its Meteor Lake desktop lineup in 2023. This manufacturing shift will apparently boost performance by another 20%, in part with the help of EUV to simplify the manufacturing process. Whatever Intel plans in the second half of 2023, it will then benefit from another 18% improvement over the Intel 3. And finally there’s the Intel 20A, where the terminology will change to refer to angstroms as units of measurement rather than nanometers. It’s all about looking great, after all.
Intel is also finally planning to replace its FinFET transistors with all-in-one RibbonFET transistors that will help reduce power leakage, improve overall power efficiency and ultimately allow for further performance improvements. Foveros 3D and PowerVia stacking themes were also featured. I think I might be missing you at this point, so here’s what matters.
3D stacking is finally the future of computing. For this process, chips are physically stacked on top of other chips with connections that create aggregate computing solutions. It includes vertical designs that create a lot of crazy engineering challenges such as energy and heat management. However, the potential is huge, like AMD has already shown With a basic 3D V-Cache coming later this year or early next year. In short, all of these technologies will help Intel improve energy efficiency to mitigate design challenges and improve performance. Hopefully, Intel will make it less important in energy use standards as well.
Intel’s manufacturing roadmap might not be exactly exciting things to most gamers, but the implications are massive. In a few years from now, CPUs will be operating very differently from what we know now. The past five years have been very slow to improve performance and efficiency, but the next five years are about to move at crazy rates as Intel tries to restore its reputation as the world’s best chip maker. Now whether or not she can do that is an interesting question, but we can expect some pretty big competition for sure.