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Intel Renames 10nm ESF Node to 7nm, 7nm to 4nm, 5nm to 3nm in Roadmap Update

A while back it was rumored that Intel has planning to change its process node naming scheme to match the transistor densities of rival foundries such as TSMC and Samsung. Today at its Intel Accelerated event, the chipmaker did just that. The 10nm Enhanced SuperFin node which will power the Alder Lake and Raptor Lake processors will be called the Intel 7 process, and the 7nm process slated to power Meteor Lake has been renamed to Intel 4 process. This updated naming puts the American chipmaker’s nodes on par with rival TSMC and Samsung in terms of density and power efficiency.

The Intel 4 node will be succeeded by Intel 3, and finally, Intel 20A which will be based on RibbonFET, a brand new transistor design and PowerVia interconnect technology. Fortunately, no delays were announced in today’s briefing. Alder Lake and the 10nm ESF/Intel 7 node are slated to launch by the end of the year, and Meteor Lake (with its 7nm/Intel 4 node) is planned for an early 2023 release.

Old Process NameNew Process NameRoadmapProductsFeatures
10SF10SFTodayTiger Lake
DG1
Xe-HPC
SuperMIM
Thin Film Barrier
10ESFIntel 72021 H2Alder Lake
Raptor Lake
Sapphire Rapids
10-15% PPW
Upgraded FinFET
7nmIntel 42023 H1 productsMeteor Lake
Granite Rapids
20% PPW vs 7
Full EUV use
5nmIntel 32023 H2 productsTBA18% PPW vs 4
Denser HP Library
Increased EUV use
New Perf Libraries
3nmIntel 20A2024TBARibbonFET
PowerVia

Interestingly, the 10nm ESF (now 7) node brings a performance per watt increase of 10-15% over 10nm SF, more or less on par with what we’ve seen with TSMC’s intermediate (N4, N6) nodes. The 7nm node (now 4) brings full-fledged EUV lithography and a PPW gain of 20% over 10nm SF (now 7). Finally, the 5nm node (now called Intel 3) brings similar performance per watt uplifts (18%), along with denser libraries and increased EUV usage.

Estimates put peak densities of Intel and TSMC nodes (million transistors per mm2) at: (Via)

  • TSMC N7: 91= Intel 10nm|7: 101
  • TSMC N5: 171 = Intel 7nm|4: 200-250
  • TSMC N3: 290 = Intel 5nm|3: ?

Areej

Computer Engineering dropout (3 years), writer, journalist, and amateur poet. I started my first technology blog, Techquila while in college to address my hardware passion. Although largely successful, it was a classic example of too many people trying out multiple different things but getting nothing done. Left in late 2019 and been working on Hardware Times ever since.
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