Intel set the pace for computing innovation in the PC era with Moore’s Law. As data grows exponentially, so does the need for powerful chips to move, store, and process data across a distributed landscape.
Moore’s Law is as important as ever, but there’s more to it than meets the eye. Intel is powering the data-centric era with synchronized and coarchitected advances in transistors, packaging, and chip design. No other company has our fab foundation, in-house research and development capabilities, innovation pipeline, and integrated device manufacturer advantage—a unique set of complementary capabilities that will redefine what’s possible in computing.
A microprocessor may be the most complex manufactured product made by humans. Producing it takes hundreds of steps in the world’s cleanest environment, carried out by skilled experts who are meticulously trained to move atoms and molecules.
Each microprocessor is made up of billions of tiny electrical switches called transistors. As transistors grow smaller, computing devices become smarter, faster, and more efficient. But shrinking transistors is no longer enough to deliver leaps in performance. Radical design improvements are also needed.
Process Innovations Drives Progress
Intel’s process innovations help drive our progress. Our goal is to continue to transistor density through node transitions. Between these shrinks, we are planning enhancements through intranode innovations—ultimately supporting a regular cadence of performance improvements for our products.
Smaller and Faster with 3D Transistors
With our leadership in manufacturing the fin-shaped field-effect transistor (FinFET), Intel raised the 2D transistor channel into the third dimension, greatly improving control of electrons flowing through the channel. These transistors operate at a lower voltage with lower leakage, providing an unprecedented combination of improved performance and energy efficiency. As a result, transistors are smaller, faster, and use less power than ever before.
Refining the FinFET
We have been continuously refining the FinFET since its introduction nearly a decade ago. At the 14nm node, we drove regular increases in transistor-level frequency over several generations, ultimately delivering the equivalent of a full-node of performance improvement through intranode enhancements.
We introduced our third iteration of FinFET transistors at the 10nm node, continuing our journey of refining this technology. With our first-generation 10nm FinFET, we focused on delivering 2.7x “hyperscaling” density over the previous node. This was driven by key innovations such as Contact Over Active Gate (COAG), which moved beyond the transistor device to the metal interconnects and ultimately the cell level.
Redefining the FinFET
Coming into 2020, our design teams were asking for even more performance headroom to deliver the product pipeline our customers required. After years of refining the FinFET platform, we are redefining it to deliver an unprecedented level of performance uplift with our new SuperFin technology.
SuperFin leverages a combination of innovations across the entire process stack, from the transistor channel to the top metal layers. A key breakthrough is a new Super MIM capacitor, which delivers a 5x increase in capacitance within the same footprint as industry standard approaches. This industry-first technology drives a voltage reduction that translates to dramatically improved product performance.
The combined power of these innovations enable us to deliver a dramatic process performance boost that will take Intel products to a new level in 2020 and beyond. In one single intranode enhancement, we delivered nearly the equivalent performance of a full-node transition.
As the physical interface between processor and motherboard, a chip’s packaging plays a critical role in product-level performance. Advanced packaging techniques will allow diverse computing engines to be integrated across multiple process technologies, enabling completely new approaches in system architecture.
As an integrated device manufacturer (IDM), Intel combines our powerful compute engines with leadership packaging to deliver unmatched product integration. Our complementary capabilities mean we can fully integrate our design, process, and packaging into products that are truly the best in their class. And with our portfolio of CPUs, FPGAs, accelerators, and graphics processing chips, our architects have the best flexibility to pick the right transistor for the product.
Intel is innovating across six pillars of technology development to unleash the power of data for the industry and our customers.
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