Discussion Foundry Node advances (TSMC, Samsung Foundry)

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OriAr

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Feb 1, 2019
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Intel probably shipped around a few million ICL chips, not much by Intel standards but not that far from AMD's mobile volume and might be about equal to it. For comparison Intel might have shipped about 100M+ KBL-R and WHL chips.

Tiger Lake should be in much higher volume than Ice Lake, might not be far from WHL volume.
 

piokos

Senior member
Nov 2, 2018
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Intel probably shipped around a few million ICL chips, not much by Intel standards but not that far from AMD's mobile volume and might be about equal to it. For comparison Intel might have shipped about 100M+ KBL-R and WHL chips.

Tiger Lake should be in much higher volume than Ice Lake, might not be far from WHL volume.
Based on how Apple launches usually look and that that ICL is in MacBook Air and Pro 13, they've probably shipped few million for Apple alone.

Tiger Lake is the only planned mobile architecture for 11th gen, so it'll replace both Ice Lake and Comet Lake.
 

piokos

Senior member
Nov 2, 2018
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Nope. There's Rocket Lake.
I honestly thought Rocket Lake U was cancelled and Intel will just keep selling Comet Lake. But it seems you're right.

Anyway, Tiger Lake is at least expected to exist in all segments: Y, U and H. ;)
And it seems it'll go all the way to 8 cores, so I'm not sure how they'll position Rocket Lake. Just as cheaper alternative?
 

RetroZombie

Senior member
Nov 5, 2019
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And now, since OEMs started using Ice Lake U popular notebooks, it seems rather plausible that there are no problems with delivering them in large quantities.
I would agree if the intel 10th gen was all compromised of 10nm which isn't, difficulties in manufacturing or low volume, they could just kept the 6/8 core parts on 14nm. But no, they still release duals and quads parts on 14nm just to compensate the lack of 10nm.
 

piokos

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Nov 2, 2018
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Hmmm... Xe in to be fabbed by TSMC in 2021 from TW sources.
It explicitly says: GPU or FPGA. Which means Intel reserved some fab capacity and leak author isn't sure what will be manufactured (or maybe TSMC and Intel don't know as well).
I would agree if the intel 10th gen was all compromised of 10nm which isn't, difficulties in manufacturing or low volume, they could just kept the 6/8 core parts on 14nm. But no, they still release duals and quads parts on 14nm just to compensate the lack of 10nm.
Just to anchor this discussion and your ideas about "low volume". Intel's mobile CPU volume is larger than whole of AMD.

Yes, they make mobile chips on 2 nodes. You can't automatically infer that it's because they have manufacturing problems.
The switch is not something you can do overnight. A manager just can't come to work on Monday, decide 10nm is OK and tell people to make Ice Lake from now on. :)
These CPUs are made on separate production lines, using different lithography equipment. Intel is gradually replacing their 14nm capacity with 10nm capacity. It'll take time.
 

piokos

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Nov 2, 2018
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Intel is already fabbing FPGAs on 10nm. I think?
At least since August 2019. But they expect an increase in demand from autonomous cars, so outsourcing (at least partly) makes absolute sense.

The obvious outcome is that Intel won't be able to make all the 10/7nm chips it wants to sell: CPU, GPU, networking, FPGA, storage.
Depending on how their node compares to competition, they'll choose the products that should be manufactured internally.
 

jpiniero

Diamond Member
Oct 1, 2010
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Rumor around the block is RKL-U is cancelled, don't know how reliable it is but the fact that TGL has vPro SKUs shows there might be some truth to this rumor.
I could see it being cancelled due to OEMs rejecting it because of the power consumption, like Cooper Lake. Like the server market, OEMs could continue to use Skylake or use AMD more.
 

OriAr

Member
Feb 1, 2019
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Intel booking some capacity at TSMC is not surprising at all, Intel always had 20% or so of their products manufactured by 3rd party fabs.
I personally think it's for Mobileye, they already work with TSMC and their current lineup uses N7, not that much of a stretch to think they will use N5 too.
Xe using N5 will really surprise me, considering PVC uses 7nm and apparently 7nm is going pretty well in Intel, no need to use N5 out of all processes.
 

piokos

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Nov 2, 2018
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Rumor around the block is RKL-U is cancelled, don't know how reliable it is but the fact that TGL has vPro SKUs shows there might be some truth to this rumor.
And beside vPro and covering all 3 main segments (Y, U, H), there were even some leaks with TGL NUCs.
It does seem like TGL will be a universal platform - covering all products they usually target with mobile SoCs.

Which absolutely doesn't mean Intel has enough 10nm to completely leave 14nm.
I also think they'll just keep making 8th and 10th gen to fill the low-end demand. Tried and tested, good enough.

Rocket Lake brings a lot of good stuff (PCIe4.0, TB4, Xe GPU, 2.5Gbps LAN, AVX-512), but none of that would be utilized in cheap laptops.
 

DisEnchantment

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Mar 3, 2017
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Last edited:

DisEnchantment

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Doug S

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Feb 8, 2020
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N5P in Q4 2020 !
Question is volume production of what? Apple is using N5 for this year.
N5 "plus" is not the same as N5P. Or at least for N7, there was N7, N7 plus (used some EUV layers) and N7P (no EUV) which improved performance.

I don't think N7+ had any claimed performance benefits, it was perhaps cheaper to use EUV instead of multipatterning for a few layers (or maybe wasn't cheaper but they considered the learning of using EUV helpful for the N5 ramp)

So what's N5+ supposed to be? Probably a more refined process, but not much in the way of performance improvement beyond better yields - which their customers would like as it would mean it is cheaper.

An "improved" N5 with better performance would probably be called N5P if they follow the N7 example, and probably not come out until Q2 or so of next year (they time their releases to match Apple's needs since Apple is paying them for early access)

As for what would use N5+, anything that targets mass production next year would probably want to use it because if it improves yields they save money. So probably the SD875 or whatever the thing that uses A78 and X1 is called may use N5+ rather than N5?
 

Hitman928

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Apr 15, 2012
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N5 "plus" is not the same as N5P. Or at least for N7, there was N7, N7 plus (used some EUV layers) and N7P (no EUV) which improved performance.

I don't think N7+ had any claimed performance benefits, it was perhaps cheaper to use EUV instead of multipatterning for a few layers (or maybe wasn't cheaper but they considered the learning of using EUV helpful for the N5 ramp)

So what's N5+ supposed to be? Probably a more refined process, but not much in the way of performance improvement beyond better yields - which their customers would like as it would mean it is cheaper.

An "improved" N5 with better performance would probably be called N5P if they follow the N7 example, and probably not come out until Q2 or so of next year (they time their releases to match Apple's needs since Apple is paying them for early access)

As for what would use N5+, anything that targets mass production next year would probably want to use it because if it improves yields they save money. So probably the SD875 or whatever the thing that uses A78 and X1 is called may use N5+ rather than N5?
N7+ (EUV) offers in the range of 15 - 20% density improvement and 10% power savings versus N7. Second gen N7 DUV (N7P) doesn't offer any density improvement that I am aware of but can give you slightly higher frequencies at iso power or around the same 10% power savings at iso frequency.
 

Doug S

Senior member
Feb 8, 2020
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N7+ (EUV) offers in the range of 15 - 20% density improvement and 10% power savings versus N7. Second gen N7 DUV (N7P) doesn't offer any density improvement that I am aware of but can give you slightly higher frequencies at iso power or around the same 10% power savings at iso frequency.
I was going by memory, I guess I should have looked it up. If N5+ improves density then it will really result in some savings, though a lot of that probably had to do with the EUV layers so I'm not sure if an N5+ would be able to achieve comparable improvement.

Whichever the story TSMC is on a two year cadence so the next big improvement (3nm) doesn't arrive until 2022. And these days "big" improvements are only found with density, the improvements in frequency/power are much smaller.
 

DisEnchantment

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Mar 3, 2017
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https://www.samsungfoundry.com/foundry/homepage/anonymous/homVoiceView.do?_mainLayOut=homepageLayout&menuIndex=0504&blogId=280

Samsung published today a Statement from Samsung Foundry negating rumours of delays for its 5/4nm process development.

Just thought this could fit here.
Reposting here to not derail the other discussion.
Coverage in most Taiwanese media about Samsung Foundry are a bit biased I would say. This includes Digitimes.
They have problems on their leading edge nodes for sure, but far from being a failure.
And when you see most of the slides from TSMC they conveniently remove memory to highlight their advantage vs Samsung. (Which is true but not completely)

Samsung makes a lot of money from its fabs. It is just that they are more weighted towards memory products. Samsung has the highest Wafer output of any semi company (IDM and foundry) as of now according to ICInsights.

With 3GAE Samsung is aiming at performance, they are not going for absolute density. Whether it shapes up to be a success or not remains to be seen but at least they have some test chips already.

As of December 2019, Samsung had the most installed wafer capacity with 2.9 million 200mm-equivalent wafers per month. That represented 15.0% of the world’s total capacity and about two-thirds of it was used for the fabrication of DRAM and NAND flash memory devices. Major construction projects underway include large new fabs at its sites in Hwaseong and Pyeongtaek, Korea, and in Xi’an, China.
 

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