Intel Updates On Next-Gen Chips: Meteor Lake Production Stepping In Q4, Granite Rapids Out of Fab, 20A / 18A Taped Out, Sierra Forest on Track For 2024

Hassan Mujtaba

During its latest earnings call, Intel's CEO, Pat Gelsinger, highlighted some important updates regarding their upcoming chips in the client and data center segment.

Intel Updates Its Next-Gen Chip Production & Process Node Progress In Latest Earnings Call

The first product that Intel's CEO highlighted is 14th Gen Meteor Lake family for desktops and laptops. Based on the Intel 4 process node, the next-gen client CPU is on road to high-volume manufacturing and the first production stepping is expected to be taped out in Q4 2022. The second major product is the server-aimed Granite Rapids Xeon lineup which will utilize the "3" process node and the first stepping is already out of the Fab. Both Intel 4 and 3 process nodes deploy EUV which will mark a major leap in transistor performance per watt and density. Intel expects a volume ramp of Meteor Lake CPUs in 2023.

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On Intel 4, we are progressing towards a high-volume manufacturing and will tape out the production stepping at Meteor Lake in Q4. The first stepping of Granite Rapids is out of the fab, yielding well with Intel 3 continuing to progress on schedule. Intel 4 and 3 are our first nodes deploying EUV and will represent a major step forward in terms of transistor performance per watt and density.

Patrick Gelsinger, Intel CEO

Intel also states that their progress on the next-gen 20A and 18A process nodes which will benefit from the latest RibbonFET and PowerVia technology is going well. The first internal test chips are already in labs and there's also a major "potential" customer whose next-gen product has been taped on the process. With 20A & 18A process nodes, Intel is expected to recapture its transistor performance and power performance leadership by 2025.

On Intel 20A and 18A, the first nodes to benefit from RibbonFET and PowerVia our first internal test chips, and those of a major potential foundry customer have taped out with silicon running in the fab. We continue to be on track to regain transistor performance and power performance leadership by 2025.

Patrick Gelsinger, Intel CEO

Intel's Foundry Services or IFS has also welcomed NVIDIA to the RAMP-C program. Intel recently stated that they would be delighted to have AMD and NVIDIA chips made at their foundries and this could be one of the first stepping stones in making that a reality.

IFS is a major beneficiary of our TD progress, and we are excited to welcome NVIDIA to the RAMP-C program, which enables both commercial foundry customers and the U.S. Department of Defense to take advantage of Intel's at scale investments in leading-edge technologies. Since Q2, IFS has expanded engagements to seven out of the 10 largest foundry customers, coupled with consistent pipeline growth to include 35 customer test chips. In addition, IFS increased qualified opportunities by $1 billion to over $7 billion in deal value, all before we welcome the Tower team with the expected completion of the merger in Q1 '23.

We expect 20A will primarily be an internal node, not one that we have a lot of external foundry customers for the external foundry chipset or tape-outs are largely associated with 18A.

And a very typical process for a foundry customer will be "give me a test chip of my circuits on your process." and that's exactly what we take out. The first one this quarter. We'll have several more in the pipeline. So now we're taking out not only our test chips for 18A, but our foundry customer test chips for 18A, and that's a pretty critical milestone when they see the results of the silicon for them making a volume decision for a foundry customer.

Patrick Gelsinger, Intel CEO

Talking specifically about the next generation of data centers and server products, Pat states that Emerald Rapids is on track for launch in 2023 and will be available alongside Sapphire Rapids chips on the same platform, allowing users to select from a diverse portfolio of scalable processor SKUs. Granite Rapids which is scheduled for 2024 is up and running multiple operating systems across a range of configurations. Sierra Forest, the all-E-Core design, is also mentioned which would deliver world-class performance per watt and is also on track for a 2024 launch.

We also saw strong milestones in the next three generations of server products. Emerald Rapids is showing good progress and is on track for calendar year '23. Granite Rapids is very healthy running multiple operating systems across many configurations. And with Sierra Forest, our first E-core product providing world-class performance per watt are both solidly on track for '24.

Patrick Gelsinger, Intel CEO

The summary of the earnings call is:

  • Production Stepping of Meteor Lake (Intel 4) in Q4 2022, Volume Ramp in 2023
  • First Stepping of Granite Rapids (Intel 3) Out of Fab, Running OS across various SKUs
  • Emerald Rapids on Track for Calendar 2023 Launch
  • Intel Sierra Forest & Granite Rapids on Track for Calendar 2024 Launch
  • First Intel 20A / 18A Test Chips (RibbonFET / PowerVia) running in labs
  • Major Potential Customer has taped out silicon on 18A, running in fab
  • NVIDIA joins the RAMP-C program, part of IFS (Intel Foundry Services)

Intel seems to finally get back in the ground and their financials now evening out. We can only expect things to get better from here as we enter 2023 and with the range of products that the blue team has prepped for the coming years.

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