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    Intel plans to overtake Samsung and TSMC with its 1.8nm chips by 2025

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    Last updated: September 5th, 2023 at 10:47 UTC+02:00

    Samsung is the second-biggest semiconductor chip fabrication company in the world after TSMC. Samsung Foundry and TSMC are the only chip fabrication firms that have been able to develop 3nm chips. However, Intel plans to overtake both firms by 2025 with its 18A (1.8nm) semiconductor chips.

    After lagging for years with 14nm and 10nm semiconductor chip fabrication nodes, Intel revealed its plans to refocus on improving its processes last year. Last week, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger reiterated that goal (via Ben Bajarin) and said the company is still planning to start fabricating 18A chips by 2025. Gelsinger said, “We're 2.5 years into the transformation. Now, it's sort of gone the way I would have expected at the time in terms of rebuilding the company. You have to be much less skeptical about our ability to pull this off.

    Intel wants to overtake Samsung Foundry and TSMC with 1.8nm semiconductor chips

    Intel 18A Chip Fabrication Process Roadmap Timeline

    Intel already uses its Intel 7 (7nm equivalent to Samsung Foundry and TSMC) process to make Alder Lake, Raptor Lake, and Sapphire Rapids chips. The company said it is ready to start the mass production of chips using its Intel 4 (4nm equivalent) process node, and it will be used to make Intel's Meteor Lake chips and some custom ASIC chips. By the end of this year, Intel's 3nm process will be ready to manufacture Granite Rapids and Sierra Forest data center chips.

    In the first half of 2024, Intel plans to keep the Intel 20A (2nm equivalent to Samsung Foundry and TSMC) ready to make 2nm chips. Intel's Arrow Lake chips will use this Intel 20A process. In the second half of 2024, the company plans to keep its Intel 18A (1.8nm) semiconductor chip manufacturing process ready, and that process could be used by some firms in 2025. In fact, during the Deutsche Bank conference last week, Pat Gelsinger claimed that the company had already received a large prepayment from a company for 1.8nm chips.

    This gives Intel a lot of confidence boost to keep developing new chip manufacturing processes and move toward its goal to overtake Samsung Foundry and TSMC. Gelsinger said Intel already knows TSMC's semiconductor wafer costs, ASPs, and targets, and Intel wants to offer chips at lower prices to attract more clients.

    Samsung Foundry Roadmap 2019-2027

    However, we can't say how accurate Intel's claims are, and TSMC and Samsung Foundry aren't sitting with their hands folded either. Samsung Foundry and TSMC have portrayed via their process roadmaps that they would be ready with their 2nm chip fabrication processes in 2025. It remains to be seen which chip-making firm attracts which fabless clients. Will Apple and AMD leave TSMC to go with Intel?

    Qualcomm rumored to drop Intel 20A to go with Samsung Foundry for Snapdragon 8 Gen 4

    There have been rumors of Qualcomm trying Intel's 20A process node for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 4. However, due to high costs, the company is rumored to drop those plans and use Samsung Foundry's 3nm process to make Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 chips. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 will be used in high-end smartphones in late 2024 and the rest of 2025.

    Even Intel itself is using TSMC's 5nm and 6nm processes to make bits of its future processors. Apple and AMD will likely stick with TSMC as they are familiar with TSMC's processes. AMD CEO Lisa Su recently said they won't leave TSMC anytime soon because they have been reliable partners. Samsung Foundry plans to make 1.4nm chips by 2027.

    General 2nmIntelSamsung FoundryTSMC
    Galaxy AI summarized

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