Intel Rolls Out 16nm Process Technology Tools: A Low-Cost, Low-Power FinFET Node

(Image credit: Intel)

Intel Foundry Services has introduced a broad range of tools for customers of its new 16nm-class process technology called Intel 16 that addresses mobile, RF, IoT, consumer, storage, military, aerospace, and government applications. The new technology complements Intel's 22nm FFL process and is said to be an inexpensive FinFET-based node.

According to press releases from Synopsys, Cadence Digital, Siemens, and Ansys, the companies now have a range of tools for IFS's Intel 16, which is specifically designed to address a wide variety of customers' applications RF and analog capability (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth), mmWave, consumer electronics, storage, military, aerospace, and government applications. The 16nm-class technology promises to offer higher transistor density, higher performance, lower power, fewer masks, and simpler back-end design rules compared to planar production nodes used for these applications today.

There are hundreds of widely used applications with long lifecycles that rely on mature process technologies, particularly in fields like application processors, controllers, analog, consumer electronics, and radio. Many of them use planar transistors-based process technologies due to costs, design simplicity, and high yields. While industry experts at large tend to admire massively powerful processors like AMD's Instinct MI300 or Nvidia's H100, there are plenty of chips — even in industries like artificial intelligence and high-performance computing — that are considerably smaller and consume only a fraction of power.

In many cases, these mature and emerging applications can still benefit from newer FinFET-based production technologies, which is why TSMC offers its N12e node, whereas IFS is now rolling out its Intel 16 process technology.

All four leading providers of electronic design automation (EDA) and IP — AnsysCadence, Siemens, and Synopsys — already support Intel 16 process technology with their certified software flows and IP. For example, Cadence has ported a variety of its IP blocks to Intel 16, including PCIe 5.0; 25G-KR Ethernet multi-protocol PHY; multi-protocol PHY for consumer applications supporting standards such as PCIe 3.0 and USB 3.2; multi-standard PHY for LPDDR5/4/4X memory; andMIPI D-PHY v1.2 for cameras and displays. Meanwhile, Synopsys offers its AI-enabled set of tools for faster chip implementation.

Fabless chip developers can start using design, verification, and simulation tools to produce their designs.

Anton Shilov
Contributing Writer

Anton Shilov is a contributing writer at Tom’s Hardware. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.

  • ikjadoon
    History repeats: Intel vs GlobalFoundries again for 16nm, bahaha.

    Qualcomm dumped Intel for tiny mobile SoCs on Intel 18A after massive delays and failures just a few months ago, so I guess 16nm scraps is all Intel can get now?

    Qualcomm, which designs chips and outsources manufacturing, wanted to work with Intel, and assigned a team of engineers to work toward making mobile-phone chips at Intel’s factories. It was particularly interested in a cutting-edge chip-making technology that Intel hopes will be the most advanced in the world by late next year .
    In early 2022, Intel’s foundry arm sent a delegation to Qualcomm’s San Diego headquarters, where they met with CEO Cristiano Amon. Then Intel missed a June performance milestone toward producing those chips commercially. It missed another in December.

    Qualcomm executives concluded Intel would struggle making the kind of cellphone chips they wanted, even if it succeeded in making high-performance processors. Qualcomm told Intel it was pausing work while it waits for Intel to show progress, according to people involved in the discussions.

    Good luck getting Apple as a foundry customer, Gelsinger, lmao.
  • kjfatl
    Intel is simultaneously rolling out multiple new processes in an effort to become the preferred semiconductor producer for many customers. If Intel were to magically jump 5 years ahead of TSMC and Samsung in manufacturing capabilities, it might still take a company like Qualcomm several years to move away from TSMC. Apple appears to be more nimble.
  • TerryLaze
    ikjadoon said:
    Qualcomm dumped Intel for tiny mobile SoCs on Intel 18A
    Qualcomm dumped intel for intel?!