Intel’s newly launched 11th Gen Rocket Lake-S processors may be a waste of sand, but the company’s stocks are at an all-time high. Reflecting the positive impact of the change leadership, the stocks have surged by nearly 30% over the last three months, the largest quarterly gain in the last 17 years. Last year, the company’s shares fell by over 17% through the course of the year, in part due to manufacturing delays (7nm primarily), loss of clients (Apple), and the toughest competition the chipmaker has seen in more than a decade.
Last month, Intel announced its IDM 2.0 plan wherein it’s going to pump more than 20 billion to rejuvenate its foundry business and build multiple fabs in Arizona and Ireland. Although many analysts have called the move a blunder, with TSMC’s chairman going so far as to call it “unprofitable“, it looks like investors are quite taken with the new CEO, Pat Gelsinger.
It’ll be interesting to see whether Intel’s plans actually work in the long run as the company could be in serious trouble if we see a repeat of the 10nm node fiasco. At present, Intel’s archrival AMD is planning to start the risk production of its Zen 4 based processors (Raphael and Genoa) using TSMC’s 5nm EUV process which is roughly on par with Intel’s 7nm node. TSMC has already started announced that the mass production of its 4nm node (5nm enhanced) will begin in the last quarter of the year, with the 3nm node (which is on par with the yet unannounced 5nm process from Intel) slated for mass production in June 2022.
Considering this level of competition, it’ll require an all-out effort from Intel’s manufacturing division to actually catch up with TSMC by 2023. If all goes well for the Taiwanese foundry till then, then it’ll already be well on its way to fab 2nm chips (with GAA) for Apple by the time Intel gets to mass-producing its 7nm-grade wafers. This would still put the former ahead of the latter as its 2nm process is quite a bit superior to Intel’s 7nm process node. More on the same below: