Why it issues: Following its February video chronicling the journey a chip takes from concept to customer, Intel has posted one other video providing a glimpse into its manufacturing course of. The video was posted earlier this month and is properly well worth the watch, particularly given Intel’s abundance of troubles at 10nm.
The delicate artwork of giving a pile of sand a mind is, properly… sophisticated. As you will see within the video, a chip travels “hundreds of miles” alongside Intel’s automated strains because it goes from one software to a different. A processor (or wafer, reasonably) goes by way of greater than 1,000 steps increase and forming transistors earlier than it even heads off to die packaging.
Recommended learn: How CPUs are Designed and Built
Intel briefly goes over a number of the know-how that underpins its FinFET course of, reminiscent of “Gate-Last” and High-Ok Metal Gate formation. There’s additionally a piece that mentions Intel’s COAG (contact over lively gate) know-how, which has been rumored to have been a contributing think about Intel’s troubles with 10nm yields.
The video then strikes to the portion the place dozens of interconnected wires are added to finish the circuit. To tremendously over-simply issues, resistance will increase as transistors lower in measurement, and scaling the wires to the transistors introduces different issues, like points with electromigration. To fight this, Intel moved away from copper wiring to cobalt for interconnects.
Again, that is one other transfer that has been rumored to have been problematic for Intel’s 10nm course of.
Intel not too long ago outlined the way it believes it is going to be behind its rivals (primarily TSMC) by way of course of management for a while to return. It will take Intel till the top of 2021, when it rolls out its 7nm course of — barring any issues — to achieve course of parity with TSMC. Intel would not anticipate to achieve course of management once more till 5nm, which so far as anybody can inform, will probably be 2023 on the earliest.