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Big changes at Intel: US$20b for two new fabs, return to Tick-Tock, 7nm Meteor Lake

By Kenny Yeo - on 24 Mar 2021, 9:43am

Big changes at Intel: US$20b for two new fabs, return to Tick-Tock, 7nm Meteor Lake

(Image source: Intel)

Intel's new CEO Pat Gelsinger is wasting no time and wants to introduce big changes as part of the company's new IDM 2.0 strategy.

It's no secret that the company is in a bit of a pickle. Last year, the company confirmed that its 7nm processors won't be ready until 2022 or 2023 while it's latest 11th generation Rocket Lake-S chips still rely on a 14nm process.

In comparison, AMD's newest processors are all built on a 7nm process and Apple's newest M1 chips are on 5nm process.


IDM 2.0

With demand for chips at an all-time high, Intel is looking to invest US$20 billion on two new fabs in Arizona. 

Intel will also create a new branch called Intel Foundry Services which will provide chip manufacturing services for other companies.

According to Intel, Intel Foundry Services will be a "standalone foundry business unit" and it will help develop and manufacture x86, ARM, and RISC-V chips for other companies.

However, Intel's in-house manufacturing capabilities will remain a core component of the business and Intel will continue to rely on it to develop and produce chips. 

That said, Intel also said that it will look to rely on external partners like TSMC to manufacture chips, citing the importance of using the right process at the right time for the right products. 


More tick-tock, 7nm Meteor Lake

Intel wants to bring back the Tick-Tock days of old.

Pat Gelsinger also said that it will important for Intel to return to its old ways and said that the company will look to re-establish its Tick-Tock cadence that has served the company so well in the past.

According to reports, Gelsinger said that Intel will push for yearly process nodes improvements with process nodes optimisations to follow.

As exciting as this sounds, Gelsinger said that Intel's roadmaps are already set through to 2023. In other words, Intel is not expecting itself to regain leadership in CPU performance until 2024/2025.

Intel also announced its next-generation Meteor Lake processors which will be built on a 7nm process and will be available in 2023.

These chips will be built using Intel's hybrid approach as seen on its Lakefield processors and will feature a mix of "big" and "small" cores.

Additionally, Meteor Lake will feature Intel's Foveros die-stacking technology to enable it to use chiplets to deliver high-performance at a lower cost.

Source: The Verge, Anandtech

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