Intel gutted 7 nm

By: anon (anon.delete@this.anon.anon), March 26, 2021 3:39 pm
Room: Moderated Discussions
Doug S (foo.delete@this.bar.bar) on March 26, 2021 9:43 am wrote:
> anon (anon.delete@this.anon.anon) on March 25, 2021 12:43 pm wrote:
> > Personally, i don't see TSMC and Samsung upgrading straight to the new 0.55
> > High-NA Scanners in 2023, whereas Intel that didn't spend a dime on the 7mn
> > EUV tools until now, is finally free to buy as many new Scanners it needs.
> > ASML tho, should provide upgrades to the current generation of scanners owned
> > by TSMC, Samsung, etc to be 0.33 NA compatible, if i understood correctly.
> > Masks and films are also getting better at withstanding the EUV wavelength,
> > allowing better yields by the lowering defect rates.
>
>
> What, you think TSMC will use the same equipment for 3nm that they are using
> for 5nm, and the same equipment for 2nm that they are using for 3nm?
>
> Intel might want to 'recycle' some equipment since they don't keep old nodes around, but TSMC keeps
> old nodes around forever so they need new equipment for every node. They have bought new equipment for
> their N3 process that enters risk production this year, because the equipment they used for N5 is still
> in use. They will buy (most likely ordered a while back and will take delivery soon) the equipment they
> will use for N2 in 2024, because the equipment they use for N3 and N5 will still be in use.
>
> So yes, TSMC will upgrade straight to the latest and greatest EUV equipment, as dictated by the
> needs of their process roadmap - which unlike Intel they actually follow without constant screwups
> and introduce a brand new node every two years. Intel is not "free to buy as many new scanners as
> it needs" because it is competing with TSMC and Samsung for those orders. Presumably they will have
> enough for their needs though, since they will have placed orders for them years ago based on needs
> for roadmapped processes far smaller than they were actually capable of delivering.
>
> You have a lot of faith in a company that has screwed up constantly for the better part of a decade (remember
> that 14nm didn't roll out on time either) and is now a full node behind TSMC and will be two nodes behind
> when they start delivering N3 wafers to Apple in the summer of next year. Maybe by then they will have
> good enough yields on 10nm they won't have the large majority of their volume still on 14nm.


I have no faith in companies, Intel is no exception.
However, my purely personal point of view here, does not matter.


Not everyone is able to appreciate how complex the photolithography filed is.
Being able to roll out chips on old DUV scanners is not a screw-up, in my opinion.
Quite the opposite, the people that worked on these process achieved a nice engineering feat!
Intel delivered and still deliver a lot of chips!
The 14++++++++ and others drama don't really matter, from a practical point of view.
So Intel screwed up more because it refused to invest into delivering lower nodes when others did, rather than because of not being able to.


TSMC, Samsung did an equal awesome feat, by leveraging the current EUV scanners.
Being an EUV early adopter was not an easy task, still engineers managed to mass produce 7nm and 5nm nodes.
However, current EUV scanners cannot leverage decently sub 5nm nodes, without scarifying even more yields and quantities.
Being able to produce chips, does not directly translate into a lot of good complicated chips.
Otherwise, we wouldn't be even here, having a discussion about Intel gutter 7mn, TSMC and Samsung.


Now, which company would get more of these next generation scanners from ASML?
I suspect that Intel put some effort into developing the new High-NA scanners, masks, films to better fit its EUV mass production standards.
Meanwhile, TSMC and Samsung still need to capitalize on their current generation of machines.
So i would lend toward Intel having the priority at ASML, over TSMC or Samsung.


Time will tell if Intel can keep it up, or if everything was really a screw-up.
As far we want to criticize, until now, on paper, Intel is in good shape despite everything.
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