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Intel eyes a path to get back in line with Moore's Law

Agam Shah | March 3, 2016
Intel hopes to get back to advancing the chip manufacturing process every two years with the upcoming 7-nm process.

Intel has lost the manufacturing advantage it had over rivals Samsung, TSMC and GlobalFoundries, but a move to the 10-nm process should put it on top again. Samsung and GlobalFoundries are now making 14-nm chips and haven't shared plans to advance chip manufacturing processes.

For Intel, keeping up with Moore’s Law and two-year manufacturing advances is expensive. The chip maker in 2015 estimated it would need to spend US$270 billion over a 10-year period on manufacturing and development, up from an estimated $104 billion in 2011. The estimate includes the cost of wafers, manpower and tools like EUV.

Beyond EUV, advances in materials could help Intel produce faster and more power-efficient chips. Intel has floated the idea of using GaN (gallium nitride) to partly replace silicon on chips. GaN is a better conductor of electricity and performs much faster than silicon, and it could initially be used in power regulators and other components.

 

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