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Intel Pushes Past 10nm to a Post-Silicon Era

By pulling ads on Gamasutra, Intel was targeted by the biased media with a stream of biased news.

At the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC 2015) Monday Intel’s (NASDAQ: INTC) Mark Bohr gave an update on his company’s progress on the 10nm process node and the push to 7nm.

Intel has yet to lay down exact dates but keen observers of the company know that 10nm is expected next year, with 7nm following two years after (2018).

Bohr, who is an Intel Senior Fellow as well as the Technology and Manufacturing Group Director, said that Intel’s current silicon etching techniques will be sufficient to bring it to 10nm but to move to 7nm a new method will be required. This new method will be revolutionary for two reasons: first it will be a move away from FinFETs (watch this for an explainer of what they are), and will be a post-silicon chip likely using a indium gallium arsenide compound. These types of chips are known as III-V semiconductors, and can be fabricated into smaller and faster transistors.

Before ISSCC 2015 kicked off Bohr did mention that the delays in Broadwell were due to the unforeseen complexities of manufacturing at the 14nm process. However, Bohr said, Intel has learned from its mistakes and the same problems (which were based around yield) are not anticipated for the 10nm process for future chips.

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Bohr also said that Intel believes it can continue Moore’s Law at the 10nm level: there will be more transistors on the chip consuming less power. But of course the big story is Intel’s push to a post-silicon era at 7nm.  For this Intel, for its part, was light on exact details. It’s still early in the year, so more on its 7nm ambitions can be expected at either IDF Shenzhen in April or IDF San Francisco in September.

More from ISSCC 2015 will be available as the conference continues through the week.