by Gina Merjanian
Earlier this year, Intel unveiled our bold vision for a new era of innovation and technology leadership. A big focus of the event was Intel’s new IDM 2.0 model, which is our strategy for driving manufacturing, innovation, and product leadership. In addition, our CEO, Pat Gelsinger, introduced Intel Foundry Services (IFS), our plan to become a major provider of foundry capacity and serve customers globally.
Last week, we built upon that vision at Intel Accelerated. During the event, Pat and Ann Kelleher, our head of technology development, shared one of the most detailed roadmap updates we have ever provided for process and packaging technologies in the history of the company.
Among the highlights, they unveiled our new node naming, shared our strong process roadmap through 2025, and introduced the world to Intel 7. These announcements are meant to provide you — our trusted customers and partners — with clarity, transparency and insight into our future products and technology.
I would like to take a minute to unpack these three key announcements.
New Node Naming
To provide you with better clarity, Intel will be renaming its process nodes to better align with the technology industry. Previously used node names (e.g., 7nm) no longer represented an actual distance or feature in the silicon, and instead became more of a marketing tool. Intel will rename its process nodes to remove both the distance reference (“nm”) as well as to realign with the industry approach. The new naming will serve as a consistent framework and more accurate view of process nodes for the industry as we enter the Angstrom era of semiconductors.
If you’re wondering why now, allow me to explain. As we transition our corporate business strategy to IDM 2.0, it became increasingly clear that our IFS goals needed a node name change to help customers fairly compare Intel silicon offerings to other foundries. After careful analysis to align with the industry approach, we were ready to introduce you to the new Intel node naming.
Strong process roadmap through 2025
You expect an annual cadence of products from us, and we are going to deliver. We are moving faster and more efficiently than ever before to deliver high-performing products, leveraging all the goodness we bring to the table — packaging, manufacturing and design. In the boldest way yet, Pat outlined our process technology roadmap out to 2025, where we expect to regain performance leadership based on industry-first technology like PowerVia and our RibbonFET transistor architecture. It was one of the most detailed roadmap updates we have ever provided spanning process and packaging technologies.
This enhanced performance and a renewed focus on innovation is already coming to life with 10nm now in high-volume production and Intel 7 set to deliver 10% to 15% performance per watt gain. As our partners, you can have confidence that we are already looking ahead at what our next milestone needs to be to help you meet yours.
Powered by new packaging and manufacturing, we have a whole host of new solutions and products headed to market. This includes Intel 7 featured on Alder Lake and Sapphire Rapids with approximately 10% to15% process performance per watt gain and enhancements to the transistor.
This incredible performance leap is made possible by Intel 7 through amazing innovations. These include using increased strain and more low-resistance materials to move electrons through the channel faster, utilizing novel high-density patterning techniques and streamlined structures to deliver better energy control, and enabling improved power delivery and better routing with higher metal stack.
We will begin shipping products on Intel 7 later this year, with the Alder Lake client family rollout set to start in 2021 and production of Sapphire Rapids for the data center in the first quarter of 2022. We already have many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) partners developing and in the design phase, many of which will be timed with launch. We will enable the entire ecosystem — from distributors to managed service providers (MSPs) as well as enterprises around the U.S. — to achieve even more with these innovations.
To sum it up, we’re accelerating our innovation and reinvigorating our execution engine to deliver the product and technology leadership you need and expect from us. We have put a concerted focus on schedule reliability throughout our development process and are moving to a predictable annual cadence of new process technology capabilities.
Thank you for being on this journey with us as we continue to find new ways to innovate. I hope this clear and consistent node naming system makes it easier for you to understand the technology that powers the products you know and love and that our clear path to process performance means you can continue to rely on us as your trusted innovation partner.
We are innovating and pushing forward not as one Intel, but as one ecosystem of partners and providers. Our quest to deliver the next generation of products you need from us is why we are reinvigorated and making bold declarations like those you heard last week.
Gina Merjanian is general manager of U.S. inside sales at Intel.