Intel CEO Claims 1.8nm Process Outshines TSMC’s 2nm, Despite N4 Chip’s Dominance

December 25, 2023 by our News Team

Intel's CEO is confident in their 1.8nm process and backside power delivery technology, but faces challenges in production capacity and a strong competitor in TSMC.

  • Intel's 1.8nm process utilizes GAA transistors, which are more advanced than TSMC's N2 node.
  • PowerVia, Intel's backside power delivery technology, has shown promising results in internal tests, with over 5% frequency improvement and over 90% cell density on the 4nm-class node.
  • Intel's CEO believes that their backside power delivery technology provides better area efficiency for silicon, leading to lower costs and higher performance compared to TSMC's N2 node.

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger is confident that his company will outshine TSMC in the coming years with their 1.8nm process. In an interview with Barrons’, Gelsinger highlighted the strengths of Intel’s 18A process compared to TSMC’s N2 node. Both processes will utilize GAA transistors, with Intel’s 1.8nm-class node also featuring PowerVia, a backside power delivery technology that optimizes power and clocks.

Intel has already tested PowerVia on its 4nm-class node, and internal tests have shown promising results. PowerVia demonstrated over 5% frequency improvement and over 90% cell density on Intel 4. While the 18A node won’t be the first to leverage RibbonFET or PowerVia, that honor will go to the 20A process launching next year with the 15th Gen Arrow Lake processors.

Gelsinger emphasized the significance of Intel’s backside power delivery technology, stating that it provides better area efficiency for silicon, leading to lower costs, and better power delivery, resulting in higher performance. He believes that Intel is ahead of TSMC’s N2 in terms of both transistor technology and power delivery.

However, while Intel may have the lead on a technological level, it faces challenges in production capacity and a less-than-stellar track record. The company has experienced multi-year delays, and its 10nm node was limited to the mobility market for two generations, indicating limited production capacity. The same can be said for the Intel 4 node powering Meteor Lake, which shows a regression in clock frequency with minimal efficiency gains.

On the other hand, TSMC has a strong reputation for execution and a long list of devoted customers, including AMD, nVidia, Qualcomm, and MediaTek. These customers rely on TSMC’s proven track record and production capabilities for their roadmaps.

It is worth noting that Intel’s 4nm-class Meteor Lake chips are not as efficient as AMD’s year-old Phoenix parts. This further highlights the challenges Intel faces in delivering competitive products.

While Intel’s CEO is confident in the capabilities of their 1.8nm process, it remains to be seen whether the company can overcome its production capacity issues and deliver on its promises. TSMC’s established position and strong customer base make it a formidable competitor in the semiconductor industry. Only time will tell who will come out on top in this race for technological dominance.

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Background Information

About AMD: AMD, a large player in the semiconductor industry is known for its powerful processors and graphic solutions, AMD has consistently pushed the boundaries of performance, efficiency, and user experience. With a customer-centric approach, the company has cultivated a reputation for delivering high-performance solutions that cater to the needs of gamers, professionals, and general users. AMD's Ryzen series of processors have redefined the landscape of desktop and laptop computing, offering impressive multi-core performance and competitive pricing that has challenged the dominance of its competitors. Complementing its processor expertise, AMD's Radeon graphics cards have also earned accolades for their efficiency and exceptional graphical capabilities, making them a favored choice among gamers and content creators. The company's commitment to innovation and technology continues to shape the client computing landscape, providing users with powerful tools to fuel their digital endeavors.

AMD website  AMD LinkedIn

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 MediaTek: MediaTek Inc. is a Taiwanese semiconductor company that designs and manufactures a wide range of system-on-chip (SoC) solutions for various consumer electronics, including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, wearables, and IoT (Internet of Things) devices. Founded in 1997, MediaTek has become a important player in the semiconductor industry, known for its innovative chipsets that offer a balance of performance, power efficiency, and affordability.

MediaTek website  MediaTek LinkedIn

About nVidia: NVIDIA has firmly established itself as a leader in the realm of client computing, continuously pushing the boundaries of innovation in graphics and AI technologies. With a deep commitment to enhancing user experiences, NVIDIA's client computing business focuses on delivering solutions that power everything from gaming and creative workloads to enterprise applications. for its GeForce graphics cards, the company has redefined high-performance gaming, setting industry standards for realistic visuals, fluid frame rates, and immersive experiences. Complementing its gaming expertise, NVIDIA's Quadro and NVIDIA RTX graphics cards cater to professionals in design, content creation, and scientific fields, enabling real-time ray tracing and AI-driven workflows that elevate productivity and creativity to unprecedented heights. By seamlessly integrating graphics, AI, and software, NVIDIA continues to shape the landscape of client computing, fostering innovation and immersive interactions in a rapidly evolving digital world.

nVidia website  nVidia LinkedIn

About Qualcomm: Qualcomm, a leading American global semiconductor and telecommunications equipment company, has played a pivotal role in shaping the modern technology landscape. Founded in 1985, Qualcomm has been at the forefront of innovation, particularly in the realm of mobile communications and wireless technology. The company's advancements have been instrumental in the evolution of smartphones, powering devices with their Snapdragon processors that deliver exceptional performance and efficiency. With a strong commitment to research and development, Qualcomm has enabled the growth of 5G technology, paving the way for faster and more connected experiences.

Qualcomm website  Qualcomm 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

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