SAN JOSE, Calif. - Rumors are running rampant that Intel Corp. this week will announce its long-awaited 22-nm process.
''Intel is expected to unveil its 22-nm process over the next couple of weeks on or before its analyst meeting on May 17,'' said Gus Richard, an analyst with Piper Jaffray & Co., in a report.
Intel has invited the media to a press conference in San Francisco on Wednesday (May 4). ''Intel will be making its most significant technology announcement of the year. No further details will be provided in advance,'' according to Intel.
For some time, Intel has dropped hints about its 22-nm process. Last year, Intel provided an update on its next two processor generations. Intel showed PCs and servers running its next architecture, the 32-nm Sandy Bridge. A follow on 22-nm microprocessor family dubbed Ivy Bridge "is moving through fabs and on track for delivery in the second half of 2011," said chief executive Paul Otellini last year.
There is much speculation what Intel will do at that node. Intel's 22-nm process will be based on Intel's third-generation high-k/metal-gate scheme. It will also use copper interconnects, low-k, strain silicon and other features. Like 32-nm, Intel will make use of 193-nm immersion lithography.
Some believe Intel will introduce a germanium (III V) channel.
Some believe Intel will extend bulk CMOS. Others think the chip giant could go to fully-depleted-or sometimes called extra thin silicon-on-insulator (SOI). One source even thinks Intel is looking at tri-gate structures at 22- or at 15-nm.
The 22-nm process is called 1270 and it is starting to ramp. First wafers will come out of D1D in Oregon and then volume production will start at F32 in Arizona in the later half of this year.
Intel, which last year surprised semiconductor industry observers by agreeing to serve as a foundry provider for programmable logic startup Achronix Semiconductor Corp., has apparently agreed to a similar arrangement with another up-and-coming programmable logic startup, Tabula Inc., according to a reports.
On Monday (May 2), Richard said he and fellow Piper Jaffray analysts believe that Intel is vying to land Apple Inc.'s foundry business.