Along with introducing its IDM 2.0 paradigm in 2021, which involves using both internal and external production capacities, Intel also outlined its impressive plan for ‘five nodes in four years,’ now dubbed ‘5N4Y.’ The culmination of that impressive project is supposed to be the company’s 18A (1.8nm-class) technology, which is scheduled to become production-ready in “early 2025.” Little is known about the company’s plans beyond 18A, but now it says it will reveal its new roadmap in February.
Intel plans to host its IFS Direct Connect event on February 21, where Intel Foundry Services will discuss its roadmap beyond 5N4Y. Featured speakers at the event are Pat Gelsinger, Chief Executive of Intel; Stu Pann, General Manager of IFS; Keyvan Esfarjani, General Manager of Intel’s Supply Chain and Operations, as well as Ann Kelleher, Executive Vice President responsible for Process Technology Development at Intel.
If you’re interested in the process technologies that are set to come after 18A, Ann Kelleher’s presentation is the one to watch. What to expect from Intel beyond 18A is up in the air, but we expect the company to continue building on its latest innovations. Intel’s 20A introduces RibbonFET gate-all-around (GAA) transistors and PowerVia backside power delivery network (BSPDN), and 18A refines both technologies. At the recent IEDM event, the company outlined a further evolution of BSPDN, so expect one of Intel’s process technologies after 18A to use this feature. GAA will obviously evolve as well, so we expect Intel to innovate in this realm, too.
Meanwhile, the disparity in the requirements of chips for different applications necessitates Intel to specialize in various process technologies, something that Intel does already. For example, Intel 3 offered a denser high-performance library and increased drive current, which is just what the doctor ordered for data center-class processors. Whether this approach will be extended and Intel will offer other specialized nodes remains open to question.
Intel describes the IFS Direct event as follows:
“Hear from Intel leaders, technologists, and partners as they share details of our strategy, process technology, advanced packaging, and ecosystem. Learn how Intel Foundry Services can help you build your silicon designs leveraging Intel’s resilient, security, and sustainably oriented, source of supply.”
The career profiles of the event speakers indicate that Intel plans to disclose both the technical and executive directions of Intel and IFS. However, the nature of the event implies that its focus will be squarely on Intel Foundry Services operations.
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