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Intel's Nova Lake Processor to Use TSMC 2nm Tech

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Intel's Nova Lake Processor to Use TSMC 2nm Tech

Recent reports indicate that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is on track to commence mass production of its cutting-edge 2nm process technology in 2025. Notably, Apple is expected to be among the early adopters, and there are speculations about Intel's Nova Lake processor platform potentially incorporating TSMC's 2nm process.

In a recent financial briefing, Intel disclosed that its Intel 18A process is anticipated to achieve manufacturing readiness in the latter half of 2024. Presently, the Clearwater Forest server processor, based on the Intel 18A process, has entered the wafer fabrication facility, while the client-oriented Panther Lake processor is poised to commence production soon.

Industry insiders suggest that the Nova Lake platform represents a significant architectural upgrade for Intel, potentially surpassing the Core architecture itself. This strategic move could be attributed to Intel's decision to leverage TSMC's 2nm process. The Nova Lake platform is scheduled for launch in 2026, with a focus on sustaining market competitiveness through a partnership with a reliable, high-yield supplier.

It is important to note that this doesn't imply a wholesale adoption of TSMC's 2nm process for Nova Lake. The chip is expected to employ a Chiplet design, akin to the Core i9 Ultra, with the CPU core module manufactured by Intel's own foundries, potentially utilizing advanced Intel 16A/14A supplies. The GPU core is likely to leverage TSMC's 2nm process, while other I/O modules may continue with TSMC's 6nm process.

Insider reports suggest that Nova Lake will feature 16 P-Cores, 32 P-Cores (codenamed "Arctic Wolf"), and 4 LP E-Cores, positioning it competitively against AMD's Zen 6 architecture and subsequent products. Additionally, Intel is developing a technology known as "Rentable Unit" for Nova Lake, intended to replace the existing hyper-threading technology. The high-end Core Ultra 9 is rumored to boast a last-level cache of 180MB, while Core Ultra 7 is expected to feature 144MB. Rumors circulate that Nova Lake's single-core performance could surpass Arrow Lake by 20-40% and outperform Raptor Lake Refresh by over 60%.


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