Intel’s 14th Gen “Meteor Lake” 4nm Node Reportedly Competes with TSMC’s 3nm Process

August 23, 2023

  • Intel is utilizing EUV lithography for the first time, allowing for better control over the complexity of the process.
  • Intel 4 node surpasses TSMC's 5nm node and is more comparable to TSMC's upcoming 3nm process.
  • Intel 4 node places a strong emphasis on power efficiency.

Intel is gearing up to release its 14th Gen Meteor Lake processors, marking its first foray into the world of Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography (EUV). This new node, previously known as the 7nm node, has been renamed Intel 4 to highlight its performance capabilities against rival products from TSMC and Samsung. While Intel has faced challenges in meeting deadlines in the past, the company is confident that its 4nm-class process is on track for mass production later this year.

William Grimm, VP and Director of Intel’s Logic Technology and Development Product Engineering, recently spoke about the progress of the Intel 4 node. He explained that the adoption of EUV lithography allows for better control over the complexity of the process, resulting in higher yields than initially anticipated. This is a significant milestone for Intel, as it is the first time the chipmaker is utilizing EUV lithography. TSMC had already incorporated this technology into its 7nm class nodes a few years ago.

The 14th Gen Meteor Lake processors will feature a heterogenous design, with CPU and iGPU dies manufactured separately. The CPU dies will be fabricated using Intel’s 4nm process, while TSMC will handle the iGPU dies on its 5nm “N5” process. This collaboration marks the first time a third-party fab will be involved in producing a major client lineup for Intel.

IC Knowledge, a firm specializing in reverse engineering, has conducted an analysis of the Intel 4 node’s performance data. Their findings suggest that it surpasses TSMC’s 5nm node and is more comparable to TSMC’s upcoming 3nm process. The transistor density of Intel’s 4nm process is reported to be higher than both TSMC and Samsung’s 3nm processes, indicating its potential for delivering impressive performance.

According to William Grimm, the Intel 4 node places a strong emphasis on power efficiency, distinguishing it from its predecessor that focused on maximizing performance. The company has also secured sufficient production capacity to meet market demand and has already outlined plans for future nodes, such as Intel 3 and 20A. Intel 3 is designed with high-performance computing (HPC) and data center processors in mind, utilizing high-performance libraries.

Intel’s move into the 4nm territory and adoption of EUV lithography signifies the company’s commitment to staying competitive in the semiconductor industry. With promising performance and power efficiency, the 14th Gen Meteor Lake processors are poised to make a significant impact. As Intel continues to innovate and collaborate with third-party fabs, the future looks bright for the chipmaker as it strives to maintain its position in the market.

Background Information

About Intel: Intel Corporation, a global technology leader, is for its semiconductor innovations that power computing and communication devices worldwide. As a pioneer in microprocessor technology, Intel has left an indelible mark on the evolution of computing with its processors that drive everything from PCs to data centers and beyond. With a history of advancements, Intel's relentless pursuit of innovation continues to shape the digital landscape, offering solutions that empower businesses and individuals to achieve new levels of productivity and connectivity.

Intel website  Intel LinkedIn

About Samsung: Samsung, a South Korean multinational conglomerate, has established itself as a global leader in various industries, including electronics, technology, and more. Founded in 1938, Samsung's influence spans from smartphones and consumer electronics to semiconductors and home appliances. With a commitment to innovation, Samsung has contributed products like the Galaxy series of smartphones, QLED TVs, and SSDs that have revolutionized the way we live and work.

Samsung website  Samsung LinkedIn

About TSMC: TSMC, or Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, is a semiconductor foundry based in Taiwan. Established in 1987, TSMC is a important player in the global semiconductor industry, specializing in the manufacturing of semiconductor wafers for a wide range of clients, including technology companies and chip designers. The company is known for its semiconductor fabrication processes and plays a critical role in advancing semiconductor technology worldwide.

TSMC website  TSMC LinkedIn

Technology Explained

CPU: The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the brain of a computer, responsible for executing instructions and performing calculations. It is the most important component of a computer system, as it is responsible for controlling all other components. CPUs are used in a wide range of applications, from desktop computers to mobile devices, gaming consoles, and even supercomputers. CPUs are used to process data, execute instructions, and control the flow of information within a computer system. They are also used to control the input and output of data, as well as to store and retrieve data from memory. CPUs are essential for the functioning of any computer system, and their applications in the computer industry are vast.

EUV: Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography (EUV or EUVL) is an advanced semiconductor manufacturing technique that employs extremely short wavelengths of light in the extreme ultraviolet spectrum to create intricate patterns on silicon wafers. Utilizing a wavelength around 13.5 nanometers, significantly shorter than traditional lithography methods, EUVL enables the production of smaller and more densely packed integrated circuits, enhancing the performance and efficiency of modern microprocessors and memory chips.

iGPU: An integrated Graphics Processing Unit (iGPU) is a component built into a computer's central processing unit (CPU) or system-on-chip (SoC) that handles graphical tasks. Unlike dedicated graphics cards, which are separate components, an iGPU shares system resources with the CPU, allowing for basic graphics capabilities without the need for an additional card. While typically less powerful than dedicated GPUs, iGPUs are energy-efficient and well-suited for everyday computing tasks

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