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posted by martyb on Friday December 07 2018, @01:09AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the little-things-add-up dept.

Intel: EUV-Enabled 7nm Process Tech is on Track

Originally planned to enter mass production in the second half of 2016, Intel's 10nm process technology is still barely used by the company today. Currently the process is used to produce just a handful of CPUs, ahead of an expected ramp to high-volume manufacturing (HVM) only later in 2019. Without a doubt, Intel suffered delays on its 10nm process by several years, significantly impacting the company's product lineup and its business.

Now, as it turns out, Intel's 10nm may be a short-living node as the company's 7nm tech is on-track for introduction in accordance with its original schedule.

For a number of times Intel said that it set too aggressive scaling/transistor density targets for its 10nm fabrication process, which is why its development ran into problems. Intel's 10nm manufacturing tech relies exclusively on deep ultraviolet lithography (DUVL) with lasers operating on a 193 nm wavelength. To enable the fine feature sizes that Intel set out to achieve on 10nm, the process had to make heavy usage of mutli-patterning. According to Intel, a problem of the process was precisely its heavy usage of multipatterning (quad-patterning to be more exact).

By contrast, Intel's 7nm production tech will use extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUVL) with laser wavelength of 13.5 nm for select layers, reducing use of multipatterning for certain metal layers and therefore simplifying production and shortening cycle times. As it appears, the 7nm fabrication process had been in development separately from the 10nm tech and by a different team. As a result, its development is well underway and is projected to enter HVM in accordance with Intel's unannounced roadmap, the company says.

Meanwhile, an unconfirmed leak of AMD's Ryzen 3000 lineup shows a 12-core CPU at $300 and a 16-core CPU at $450.

Previously: Intel Delays Mass Production Of 10 nm CPUs To 2019
Intel Releases Open Letter in Attempt to Address Shortage of "14nm" Processors and "10nm" Delays
Intel Denies that It Will Cancel or Skip its "10nm" Process


Original Submission

Related Stories

Intel Delays Mass Production Of 10 nm CPUs To 2019 31 comments

Intel on Thursday announced that it would delay mass production of its 10 nm processors from 2018 to 2019 due to yield issues. The company has claimed to be shipping some of its 10 nm chips in small volumes right now, but due to cost reasons the firm does not intend to initiate their high-volume manufacturing (HVM) at this time. Intel executives also stated that they are confident of their product roadmap and intend to launch Whiskey Lake and Cascade Lake products later this year.

[...] Intel blames a very high transistor density and consequent heavy use of multipatterning for low yields. Brian Krzanich has said that in certain cases the company needs to use quad (4x), penta (5x), or hexa (6x) patterning for select features as they need to expose the wafer up to six times to "draw" one feature. This not only lengthens Intel's manufacturing cycle (which by definition rises costs) and the number of masks it uses, but also has an effect on yields.

Intel's 10 nm fabrication technology relies solely on deep ultraviolet (DUV) lithography with lasers operating on a 193 nm wavelength at this time. The company's 7 nm manufacturing process will use extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography with laser wavelength of 13.5 nm for select layers, eliminating use of extreme multipatterning for certain metal layers. As it appears, right now Intel executives do not consider EUV technology ready for prime time in 2019, so the company's engineers have to polish off the last DUV-only process (again) rather than jump straight to 7 nm.

The delay means another generation of "14nm" products:

Intel Releases Open Letter in Attempt to Address Shortage of "14nm" Processors and "10nm" Delays 17 comments

Intel Issues Update on 14nm Shortage, Invests $1B Into Fab Sites (Update)

Intel's CFO and interim CEO Bob Swan penned an open letter to its customers and partners today outlining the steps it is taking to address a persistent and worsening shortage of 14nm processors.

[...] The shortage impacts nearly every aspect of Intel's business, from desktops to laptops, servers and even chipsets, so Intel is making the sound business decision to prioritize high-margin products. The firm has also expanded its testing capacity by diverting some work to a facility in Vietnam.

[...] Intel's statement also assures us that processors built on its 10nm fabrication will arrive in volume in 2019. Intel had previously stated that 10nm processors would be available in 2019, but hadn't made the distinction that they would arrive in volume. That's a positive sign, as the oft-delayed 10nm production is surely a contributing factor to the shortage. Intel also cites the booming desktop PC market, which has outstripped the company's original estimates earlier this year, as a catalyst.

In either case, Intel concedes that "supply is undoubtedly tight, particularly in the entry-level of the PC market" but doesn't provide a firm timeline for when the processors will become fully available. Intel's letter also touts its $1 billion investment in 14nm fabs this year, but half of that capital expenditure was scheduled prior to its first public acknowledgement of the shortage. Given Intel's foresight into the production challenges, the prior $500 million investment was likely in response to the increases in demand and looming production shortfall.

Previously: Intel Migrates New Chipsets to "22nm" Node From "14nm"

Related: Intel's "Tick-Tock" Strategy Stalls, 10nm Chips Delayed
Intel's First 8th Generation Processors Are Just Updated 7th Generation Chips
Intel Delays Mass Production Of 10 nm CPUs To 2019


Original Submission

Intel Denies that It Will Cancel or Skip its "10nm" Process 11 comments

Report: Intel is cancelling its 10nm process. Intel: No, we're not

Earlier today, it was reported that Intel is cancelling its troublesome 10nm manufacturing process. In an unusual response, the company has tweeted an official denial of the claims.

[...] The company's most recent estimate is that 10nm will go into volume production in the second half of 2019. The report from SemiAccurate cites internal sources saying that this isn't going to happen: while there may be a few 10nm chips, for the most part Intel is going to skip to its 7nm process.

Typically, Intel doesn't respond to rumors, but this one appears to be an exception. The company is tweeting that it's making "good progress" on 10nm and that yields are improving consistent with the guidance the company provided on its last earnings report. Intel's next earnings report is on Thursday, and we're likely to hear more about 10nm's progress then.

Also at Tom's Hardware and The Verge.

Related: Intel's "Tick-Tock" Strategy Stalls, 10nm Chips Delayed (it has been over 3 years since this article was posted)
Moore's Law: Not Dead? Intel Says its 10nm Chips Will Beat Samsung's
Intel's First 8th Generation Processors Are Just Updated 7th Generation Chips
Intel Releases Open Letter in Attempt to Address Shortage of "14nm" Processors and "10nm" Delays


Original Submission

Intel CEO Blames "10nm" Delays on Aggressive Density Target, Promises "7nm" for 2021 10 comments

Intel says it was too aggressive pursuing 10nm, will have 7nm chips in 2021

[Intel's CEO Bob] Swan made a public appearance at Fortune's Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colorado, on Tuesday and explained to the audience in attendance that Intel essentially set the bar too high for itself in pursuing 10nm. More specifically, he pointed to Intel's overly "aggressive goal" of going after a 2.7x transistor density improvement over 14nm.

[...] Needless to say, the 10nm delays have caused Intel to fall well behind that transistor density doubling. Many have proclaimed Moore's Law as dead, but as far as Swan is concerned, Moore's Law is not dead. It apparently just needed to undergo an unexpected surgery.

"The challenges of being late on this latest [10nm] node of Moore's Law was somewhat a function of what we've been able to do in the past, which in essence was define the odds on scaling the infrastructure," Swan explains. Bumping up to a 2.7x scaling factor proved to be "very complicated," more so than Intel anticipated. He also says that Intel erred when it "prioritized performance at a time when predictability was really important."

"The short story is we learned from it, we'll get our 10nm node out this year. Our 7nm node will be out in two years and it will be a 2.0X scaling so back to the historical Moore's Law curve," Swan added.

Also at Fortune and Tom's Hardware.

Related:


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 2) by Snotnose on Friday December 07 2018, @01:28AM (2 children)

    by Snotnose (1623) on Friday December 07 2018, @01:28AM (#770977)

    From tradeshows for the past few years. They mean it this time.

    --
    If at first you don't succeed use a bottle opener. It's probably not a screw off cap.
    • (Score: -1, Spam) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07 2018, @02:21AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07 2018, @02:21AM (#770998)

      A lone man was walking down the sidewalk early in the morning. The man was rubbing his chin with his fingers, as though he were deeply contemplating a certain matter. Indeed, this man - Rickerson - was contemplating something, and that something was of the utmost importance: Rape.

      How many women and children should Rickerson rape today? It was a difficult question to answer. Even men's rights philosophers - who studied issues such as this for their entire lives - would be at a loss as to what the answer was. Suddenly, and without warning, the answer came to him; it was deceptively simple and yet seemingly unfathomable. All of them. Why not simply rape all of them? Rickerson knew. Rickerson knew that he stumbled upon a world-changing insight, and so he immediately moved to contact the world's top science organizations.

      The revolutionary knowledge spread throughout the world like wildfire. "Rape them all!" became a common expression. Several fields of science - chemistry, physics, psychology, computer science, and more - changed almost completely overnight to the point where they no longer resembled their former selves. In addition, rape rates rose to the maximum possible extent. As a result, men all over the world began reclaiming their rights. Some men even used devices to access parallel universes so that they could toy with the women and children there as well. And this was all thanks to Rickerson, who received a Nobel Rape Prize for his Earth-shattering discovery.

      It was a new dawn for humanity, one which brought limitless growth and endless opportunities. This time period would eventually come to be referred to as The Rape Age.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07 2018, @12:55PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07 2018, @12:55PM (#771124)

      The logic is reasonable behind 7nm being on-track. EUV has been compared to 28nm nodes because the reduction in required multi-patterning. It could be Intel's 10nm process is just too challenging for immersion. Both TSMC and Samsung are using EUV at 7nm although to what extent is ambiguous.

      For all three of these players availability of EUV scanners will be an issue. Throughput is still low and ASML cannot increase production quickly. This could also build Intel's story that 14nm investment is increasing too: 7nm fabs will be built as quickly as tools can roll in but ultimately a high-yielding process is still needed to meet demand.

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07 2018, @01:42AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07 2018, @01:42AM (#770980)

    Intel's 7nm production tech will use

    This is probably reading too much into it, but on the other hand I have learned to expect sneaky phrasing from intel. Anyway, this could be interpreted as saying they did not yet incorporate that step.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07 2018, @02:28PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07 2018, @02:28PM (#771144)

    The often-repeated claim is that Moore's law must end because of the size of the atoms. But maybe the size of the photons is a bigger challenge.

  • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Friday December 07 2018, @03:02PM (3 children)

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 07 2018, @03:02PM (#771159) Journal

    From TFA

    Meanwhile, an unconfirmed leak of AMD's Ryzen 3000 lineup shows a 12-core CPU at $300 and a 16-core CPU at $450.

    Woo hoo! More cores, more cores!

    The software tech and know how already exists. Some languages already have good frameworks for it. (some) Software Developers just won't bother to learn how to leverage it.

    But if the hardware gets more and more cores. It will simply become compelling for developers to build software to use them. Many problems can be rethought and reorganized to run in parallel.

    There is also an insight that may not be apparent. Runtime systems with parallel garbage collection can use some cores to do the GC. The performance benefit here may not be obvious. But whatever the main workload function is, doesn't spend any of its cycles managing memory, or deallocating structures. Those cycles to deallocate memory are spent later on a different thread. So even a task that must be inherently serial can benefit in this way from more cores. Such as recalculating the page boundaries of all subsequent pages in a word processor when the user types characters into page 2. As a developer, it also makes me feel confident I've done it correctly if my code really does keep all the cores busy no matter how many I throw at it. eg, it doesn't hit some peak at 4 cores and get no faster on 12 cores for example.

    More cores start to make it possible to entertain ideas that we currently think of as too expensive or impractical. Clippy: it looks like this is an image of a cat attacking a postal mail carrier. Would you like me to develop a plan to eliminate all postal mail carriers? Click here!

    --
    In order to make Halloween scary this year, children are ordered NOT to wear masks.
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by takyon on Friday December 07 2018, @03:20PM

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Friday December 07 2018, @03:20PM (#771165) Journal

      Yup. As much as multithreading has been a chicken and egg problem in the past, quad-cores are pretty ubiquitous, even in phones. And PS4 and XBO have 8 cores, with 6-7 usable. Incidentally, the next Xbox could use [wccftech.com] an AMD Zen 2 CPU instead of Jaguar, probably with 8 cores again, except Zen would allow 16 threads instead of the custom Jaguar's 8 [cpu-world.com].

      The chicken has been born, the egg has been hatched. "Normal" users can easily have 6 to 32 cores, 12 to 64 threads. And the remarkable thing about the Ryzen leak is that no quad-cores are listed. The weakest CPU is a 6-core for $99. The new chiplet design could also allow AMD to put 6-8 cores in their Ryzen laptop chips, although that remains to be seen.

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07 2018, @04:09PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07 2018, @04:09PM (#771177)

      those look like pretty badass chips to me. if they have their closed source psp shit in them i wont buy them for a year or so after they come out as a mini protest/pseudo boycott

      • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday December 07 2018, @05:02PM

        by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Friday December 07 2018, @05:02PM (#771205) Journal

        I guess you are waiting for the price decrease to "punish" AMD. But if you wait that long you might be able to grab the "7nm" refresh made with more use of EUV, probably resulting in better clock speeds and power efficiency. Or you could hold out until "5nm".

        As for the PSP, there are no signs of change there [libreboot.org]. Send the CEO an email and see what happens.

        --
        [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
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