Intel’s 14th generation 4nm “Meteor Lake” node would be a match for TSMC’s 3nm process

Le nœud 4nm "Meteor Lake" de la 14e génération d'Intel serait à la hauteur du processus 3nm de TSMC

Intel's first EUV node is expected to debut later this year with the 14th generation Meteor Lake processors. Previously known as the 7nm node, the Intel 4 process has been renamed to better highlight its performance compared to competing offerings from TSMC and Samsung. Unlike its predecessor, it will mainly be used for the Meteor Lake Client family and certain ASICs. Intel's foundry has faced tight deadlines in the past, and there are many rumors that history will repeat itself with the 4nm-class process.

Putting aside speculation about a delay, Intel assured investors that its 4nm node (Intel 4) is on track for mass production later this year. William Grimm, vice president and director of Intel's Logic Technology and Development Product Engineering Department, said this during a media chat in Penang, Malaysia on the 22nd of this month.

Grimm explained that with EUV (Extreme Ultraviolet Litho) it is possible to control the complexity of the process, allowing higher yields than expected. The Intel 4 process is the chipmaker's first node to take advantage of EUV lithography. TSMC adopted the same method with its 7nm-class nodes several years ago.

The 14th generation Meteor Lake processors benefit from a heterogeneous design with CPU and iGPU dies manufactured separately. The first will be manufactured on the Intel 4 process, while TSMC will manufacture the second on its 5nm “N5” process. This is the first time that a third-party factory will partly manufacture a range for major Team Blue customers.

IC Knowledge, a company specializing in reverse engineering, analyzed Intel Node 4 performance data, concluding that it is superior to TSMC's 5nm node and more in line with its upcoming 3nm process. The former would have a higher transistor density than TSMC and Samsung's 3nm processes.

With EUV we can control the complexity of the process. We managed to achieve a higher return than expected. We have produced our own PPP by referring to external reference points. It is difficult to compare Intel 4 with existing nodes from other foundries. If the Intel 7 process is focused on optimizing performance, Intel 4 focused on increasing power efficiency. Finally, he added, EUV production capacity has been sufficiently guaranteed to meet market demand and plans for the next few years, such as Intel 3, have been established.

William Grimm, vice president of Intel

According to Grimm, the Intel Node 4 focuses on energy efficiency, while its predecessor maximized performance (Tic-Toc). In addition, sufficient production capacity has been ensured to meet market demand, and plans for subsequent nodes (Intel 3, 20A) have been developed. Intel 3 was designed for HPC processors and data centers using high-performance libraries.

Via: The Elec