GlobalFoundries hit back at Intel, claims the delayed 10nm process is a "pretty weak node" | PCGamesN

GlobalFoundries hit back at Intel, claims the delayed 10nm process is a "pretty weak node"

Intel 10nm CPU

Intel have been very vocal in their criticisms of competing manufacturer’s process nodes, criticising their lack of density. However, GlobalFoundries CTO, Gary Patton, is happy to return some of the shade that Intel are throwing their way and wants everyone to know just how dense chip-manufacturer GlobalFoundries can be.

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GlobalFoundries are the company that manufactures most of AMD’s computing and graphical chips. They produce the 14nm node AMD currently use within their Polaris and Vega architecture designs, and are producing the 12nm chips for the upcoming AMD Ryzen 2 desktop processors. They have also skipped past the potential 10nm process,  heading straight down to 7nm for their next node generation, unlike Intel who have been working on 10nm for some time.

“You saw 20nm ended up being a very weak node,” Patton says in an interview with AnandTech, “it was the end of the road on planar transistors and as a result, you were basically fighting electrostatics. It didn't have a lot of performance gain, and it didn't have a lot of density.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Limited

“The same thing has happened with 10nm - I mean if you look at the scaling and the performance, it is a pretty weak node. We want to focus on nodes that will give a very strong value proposition, so we are focusing very hard on 7nm, and making sure for customers jumping from 14nm to 7nm that we are giving them a really significant improvement.”

Ouch, that’s gotta sting for Chipzilla.

Intel were pretty trigger-happy last March to stand up on stage and point to the inadequacies of their competitors naming schemes and subsequent transistor density, even calling it a “node naming mess”.

“Our customers know the difference,” Patton says, “they get our design kit, they can layout circuits, they know how dense we are. There's no confusion about what our node is.”

Intel transistor density graph

Since March, however, a loose-lipped engineer recently indicated that Intel’s 10nm node may actually be lagging behind the competition’s many 7nm nodes, despite the supposed boondoggling of naming conventions. We’ve already seen some evidence of potentially low-yields from this process in the form of a GPU-less dual-core Cannon Lake processor.

GlobalFoundries expect a long shelf-life for their 7nm process, which could put Intel on the back foot for some time if they don’t manage to shape up at 10nm. GloFo also plan on eventually moving over to the new manufacturing process on the block, Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV), with the 7nm node. This technology aims to reduce the manufacturing steps, and associated costs, required to produce chips, which Intel are also likely to roll-out on a large scale sometime in the near-future.

GlobalFoundries expect their first 7nm products to be reaching mass volume production towards the end of 2018 and into the beginning of 2019 - no doubt AMD’s 7nm Vega will be making up the vanguard of products first to use the denser node tech. This will be potentially be followed by AMD’s Zen 2 processors and Navi GPU architecture - although one will likely be opting for TSMC’s rival 7nm node instead, and there have been some rumblings that Samsung might be sniffing around too.

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QDP2 avatarGoDz avatarraymond.caron avatar
raymond.caron Avatar
4 Months ago


You couldn't be more wrong. AMD's new Ryzen CPU is an architectural breakthrough. It's 1/3rd the size of Coffee Lake. AMD gets higher yields, higher quality CPU's, and gets to live to smaller nodes because of this.

Intel is essentially uncompetitive from this point onwards. Intel will be selling slower more expensive CPU's compared to AMD until 2022 at the earliest.

Intel is about to loose its last lead over AMD, which is single thread IPC. As Intel assists from Meltdown, and is also behind in Fabrication, there's no way they'll be able to get it back.

I feel sorry for anyone spending money on Intel junk from this point onwards.

QDP2 Avatar
4 Months ago

Intel bringing unverifyable claims and AMD shooting back. Sounds like pretty standard stuff, Intel already knowing that many/most laptop producers will grab their cheaper 10nm processors in a bundle with the CPUs for laptop builds.Until AMD start producing competitive budget CPUs in simpler naming conventions (comparable to the i3, i5 and i7 from Intel) I doubt Intel will have any plans to be truly competitive in the GPU front.

GoDz Avatar
4 Months ago

Um have you been living under a rock for the past year? AMD has been hammering Intel's offerings with cheaper solutions. The R5 line up single handedly made i3 and i5's obsolete.

Despite Ryzen's massive success this past year they are still pushing the envelope even further. Ryzen 2400g also makes Intel's iGPU equipped processors look like toys in comparison.

By the end of the year we will see who has an actual architectural advantage as 7nm will close the gap between Core and Ryzen.

QDP2 Avatar
4 Months ago

Intel iGPUs have been toys ever since they released them back in '13. They sold well because i3 and i5 laptops sell to the average consumer (the uninformed who go on the word of the retailer rather than research for themeslves). AMDs laptop GPU naming scheme was so obscure to the non-informed that they weren't ever going to be able to compete. This is still the case unless you are paying the top-tear premium for Ryzen, If history says anything, performance means nothing when it comes to laptop sales. People buy whatever the most appealing piece of junk is that sits in front of them at the time, and people know Intel; so I don't see Ryzen growing out to the consumers it needs for profits.

Please do go ahead and point out any Ryzen laptops competing price-wise with the Intel range. I'm not going to lie, I haven't looked in a while so there may well be some Ryzen PCs that make i3 and i5 obsolete, but outside of laptops who gives a single care about iGPUs? In a desktop you will throw a dedicated card in there, at which point all you care about is the core processors performance.

I'm not trying to knock Ryzen CPUs and GPUs, they seem like great things. I wouldn't be shocked if my next desktops CPU was Ryzen, but depressingly for myself I can only look at nVidea on the GPU front. A significant amount of the modelling/rendering software I use has been written for their version of CUDA parallel computing, and does not support GCN.