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Intel will begin to call technical processes differently to keep up with competitors
Intel’s Hillsborough, Oregon plant says the company intends to re-number its process. Announcement of this came from Ann Kelleher, Head of Technology Development at Intel. According to the company’s management, the current numbering does not reflect the leading technological position of Intel in the production of chips, and this point needs to be clarified.
Silicon wafer with chips. Image source: Intel
Historically, at the stage of transition from 90- to 32-nm technological processes, the definition of technological standards of production for each company has become its own special. There is a universal metric that could reveal the details of the technical process — this is the minimum step of the line projected onto the crystal. However, this approach cannot effectively advertise products. Therefore, the geometry of the transistors, the step of their arrangement on the crystal, the number of transistors in the cache memory cell, and much more were used.
To date, Samsung and TSMC marketing has clearly suppressed Intel marketing. The first and the second are already preparing to release «3-nm chips» next year, and Intel will start producing «7-nm processors» only a year or two after that. But the new-old Intel leadership in the person of Patrick Gelsinger promises to revive the tradition of annually presenting a new technical process and begin a serious intervention in the contract semiconductor market. Obviously, the time has come for Intel as well to change something in the designation of technological processes.
The company itself declined to comment on plans to change the names of technical processes, but reiterated that they consider their chips to be more advanced than competing products with «lower standards». «It is widely recognized in the industry that there is inconsistency and confusion in the nanometer nomenclature, and it does not reflect the latest innovations at the transistor level,» said Intel spokesman Chelsea Hughes.