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> Since Intel is hitting a wall on transistor size

Well everyone is running into these problems.

However Intel's historical process advantage is probably drawing to a close (or at least the gap between Intel's best and say, TSMC's best, will be a lot smaller). So it's all about the micro-architecture from here on out.






That's not really true. Intel's competitors are doing a great job of finding metrics via which they can claim their transistors are '10nm' or '7nm', but if you look at the actual full dimensions of the transistors that they're using Intel retains an advantage. It's just that advantage is 7 vs 10 vs 14 rather than 90 vs 65. Back with 90 vs 65 it was much clearer cut what they were talking about.

On the flip side though, 65 vs 90 is basically the same % difference as 7 vs 10.

Obviously the performance difference of 7 vs 10 is smaller than historical changes (especially WRT power), but Intel's still ahead and looks like it will stay that way.


Putting the node naming issues aside, Intel used to lead the rest of industry between 2 - 3 years time. And not only it is technologically superior, Intel also has the scale enjoyed by no one else in the industry. From that point of view, Intel has a monopoly.

Now not only has TSMC or Samsung shrank the gap to less then a year or so, they now both enjoy the same economy of scale provided by the mobile phone market. 1.7 Billion Smartphones Vs 250M PC. While many of the smartphones aren't using cutting edge tech, the same goes to PC market as well.

Unless there is any change of pace from Intel, TSMC will likely have the same level of tech as Intel in 2019, and a scale that Intel wont match assuming Apple dont change course and continue to Fab with TSMC.

They will need to sell more chips, more transistor, keep the Fab fully utilize, with the ~200M Modem from Apple next year that is going to help tremendously, but given Apple switch supplier from time to time their move into GPU in 2 - 3 years time seems like a backup plan incase anything goes south.


Yes, it's true. TSMC and Samsung may call their upcoming nodes 7nm, while Intel calls it 10nm, but what matters is that they have equivalent specifications and that they will arrive roughly at the same time.

Check out the last table comparing TSMC and Samsung's 7nm features vs Intel's 10nm:

https://www.semiwiki.com/forum/content/6713-14nm-16nm-10nm-7...

Intel may still have a 6-months lead or so, but it's nowhere near its 2-3 year lead it used to have only 5 years ago, when not only did it have smaller transistors than the competition, but also used FinFET transistors, with much better thermal performance.

Intel won't even be the first to EUV now, which may not be a huge advantage at first (cost-wise), but it does give Samsung a lead in EUV expertise, from which I think they'll benefit in the long term.


Maybe a better metric would be transistors per cm^2, that way it shouldn't matter where you measure the transistor width. It's all marketing anyway.



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