Intel’s foundry team has allegedly run into another manufacturing hitch which may lead to an nth roadmap delay. An exclusive report from Semianalysis states that the chipmaker’s Intel 4 process node (TSMC’s N4/N3 equivalent) won’t be ready on time. The first mass-produced client lineup featuring EUV lithography was supposed to enter volume production in the year’s second half, followed by a Q4 release.
EUV is a process fraught with complexity, uncertainty, and imperfection, yet it works. TSMC, Samsung, and SK Hynix are all in production of EUV at varying volumes. Intel has also confidentially stated that they are manufacturing ready for EUV lithography in their Intel 4 process node. We don’t really believe them because internal documents we obtained show Intel’s first high-volume product utilizing EUV, Meteor Lake, has been delayed yet again, with “ready-to-ship” dates delayed until Week 52, 2023 at minimum. This suggests that Intel is facing challenges in implementing a production-scale design into an EUV process technology.
Unfortunately, internal documents obtained by Semianalysis reveal that the 14th Gen Meteor Lake processors will be delayed until the very last week of 2023 (week 52), at the minimum. Keep in mind that these are the ready-to-ship dates and not the production-ready dates that Intel has cleverly advertised in its marketing slides.
Officially, the manufacturing-ready target for the 14th Gen Meteor Lake processors (Intel 4) was H2 2022, and exactly a year later, for the server-grade Intel 3 process node. The former brings a 20% improvement to performance per watt, courtesy of EUV lithography and an increased focus on mobility devices. Intel has been parroting its IDM 2.0 roadmap that promises to deliver four nodes in a span of two years, namely Intel 4, Intel 3, Intel 20A, and Intel 18A. By the looks of it, though, plans may change at the last moment.