Intel delivers leading-edge foundry node with Intel 3 Technology; on path back to process leadership

At Intel Foundry, we are dedicated to harnessing innovative technologies to extend Moore’s Law and put greater capabilities into the hands of customers for exciting new applications. For decades, we have led the industry with transistor technologies at key inflection points, including the introduction of strained silicon in 2005, the high-k and metal gate stack in 2009, and bringing the transistor into the third dimension with the FinFET architecture in 2011. Today, we continue our legacy of pioneering major new transistor innovations that will shape future areas such as AI and supercomputers.

Now, we are thrilled to share details of the Intel 3 process node, which is our ultimate FinFET-based node, at the annual VLSI Symposium.

The base Intel 3 process node delivers up to 18% better performance at the same power for an entire processor core, a flexible set of metal interconnect options, and up to 10% greater density than the previous generation Intel 4 node (1). This represents an entire generation of performance improvement – a tremendous advance in just one year. We achieved this through careful optimizations in nearly every aspect of the process, from the transistor to the metal stack. The modest density gains come from a new set of high-density standard cell libraries that we developed.

In 2021, Intel set out to regain process technology leadership and laid out our five nodes in four years journey (5N4Y) with a series of aggressive milestones. The 5N4Y roadmap focuses on regaining technical leadership and demonstrating consistent execution through careful and measured risk-taking. It is also about propelling the entire industry forward – as we transform the company to offer the breadth of our design, packaging and manufacturing capabilities to foundry customers.

The Intel 3 node brings us closer to the finish line on our 5N4Y journey and builds on our prior successes to deliver consistent execution. With the prior Intel 4 node, we introduced EUV lithography, a complex technology that impacts many different aspects of the process, from transistor front-end to the vias and metal interconnects in the back end. The Intel 4 node is used in the Intel Core Ultra processor family, which ushered in the AI PC era and has shipped more than nine million units.

As planned, the Intel 3 node reached its manufacturing readiness milestone at the end of last year. Further demonstrating Intel process technology is back on track, this node reached high-volume production at our R&D site in Oregon and is now also producing chips in high volume in our Leixlip, Ireland fab for foundry customers, including server processors in the Intel Xeon 6 platform.