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What changes does Intel's IDM model bring to Intel?

back Date: 2021-12-06 11:17:10 Click:

Today, Intel released its 2020 Q4 and full-year financial reports. Data shows that Intel’s performance has reached a record high for five consecutive years. Specifically, Intel's annual revenue in 2020 is 77.9 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of 8% from 72 billion in 2019.

Intel officially announced a week ago that it will appoint Pat Gelsinger as the new CEO (CEO) starting February 15, 2021. At this financial report communication meeting, current CEO Bob Swan and future new CEO Pat Gelsinger (PatGelsinger) discussed Intel’s future work priorities.

What changes does Intels IDM model bring to Intel?(图1)

"Technology veterans" return to Intel, foundry has spawned a new IDM model

At this communication meeting, Intel talked about the process issues that the industry is most concerned about.

In terms of manufacturing process, Si Ruibo revealed that important progress has been made in 7nm research and development in the past six months, and it is expected to be delivered in 2023, when 7nm products will be launched on the PC side.

In addition, according to Pat Kissinger, most of Intel's products in 2023 will use Intel 7nm technology, while some products will also use external foundry.

In addition, Intel will continue to invest in process technology, investment and research and development of next-generation products other than 7nm. It is worth mentioning that Pat Kissinger also said that GlennHinton, a senior researcher at Intel, is about to return.

According to data, GlennHinton used to be Intel's chief architect and retired three years ago. He was one of the heroes of the Nehalem architecture in 2008, which had a profound impact on Intel's CPU system and laid the foundation for Intel servers and x86 processors for the next 12 years.

Regarding external foundry, Pat Kissinger said, "When using external foundry, we will play an unquestionable leadership role in the entire process, and the goal is to lead the entire industry."

The use of self-research + external foundry will produce a new IDM model. Intel and foundries will jointly select design and manufacturing, control the supply chain, and make profits together.

The author believes that Pat Kissinger himself is a 30-year technical veteran, coupled with GlennHinton, the "old hero", will undoubtedly bring more new opportunities for high-performance CPU projects.

Pat Kissinger said frankly, "Intel has also experienced cycles of leading and lagging. When Intel was slow on multi-core, I was involved in it. We successfully reversed the decline and achieved leadership. Great companies can overcome difficulties. Time has recovered and will be stronger and more capable than ever. Now is Intel’s opportunity, and I am looking forward to becoming one of them."

The manufacturing process is only a part of planning, and ultra-heterogeneous computing is the future

When it comes to Intel, the focus of many people is undoubtedly the manufacturing process, but can they only focus on the manufacturing process?

"Intel firmly believes in the importance of achieving leading products. Process technology is very important, but at the same time packaging technology, hybrid architecture (CPU to XPU), memory, security, and software are all very important. To achieve product leadership requires six technologies Pillar. The process is very important, but it does not mean that only the process is enough," says Si Ruibo.

In just three sentences, what actually revealed was a five-year round behind Intel. In fact, as early as 2015, Intel has put forward the conclusion that data will change the future computing landscape and promote changes; in 2017, it formally established the "data-centric" transformation goal; so far, it has realized the transition from a CPU company to a multi-architecture XPU's transformation has become the industry's first company to cover four mainstream chips (CPU, discrete GPU, FPGA, accelerator), and lead the future development of the technology industry with the unique strength of XPU+oneAPI.

The author has repeatedly emphasized that Intel currently has the most complete product line in heterogeneous computing. It can be said that Intel is the closest to ultra-heterogeneous computing with XPU+oneAPI. This is a big mountain with a large investment and a long cycle. In fact, Intel is also focusing on "splitting" and "breaking into parts" through this method. After all, "no bite is fat" can the long-term layout achieve such a huge goal.

IDM's own characteristics and decomposition design are intertwined

"Splitting into zeros" is a phenomenon that the industry is eager for. In the game of giants, it is continuing under the "one whole" and "one zero". This kind of thinking is Chiplet (small chip), but Intel's This design is closer to Chiplet 2.0.

Why is it called version 2.0? The key to all this lies in Intel’s own unique advantages of IDM. Intel has technical details in all areas of architecture, silicon technology, product design, software, packaging/assembly/testing, and manufacturing. Through Intel IDM, in design In research and development products, close internal trade-offs between products, processes, and manufacturing can be achieved, and amazing product performance can be achieved, which competitors cannot do.

It is worth mentioning that packaging and interconnection are the keys:

In terms of packaging, Intel holds EMIB (High Density Miniature 2D), Foveros (High Density Miniature 3D) and Co-EMIB (Converged 2D and 3D) advanced packaging technologies in multiple dimensions, and also has the latest "Hybrid Bonding" package Technology can achieve bump pitches of 10 microns and below, providing higher interconnection density, bandwidth and lower power.

In terms of interconnection, Intel has several key package interconnection technologies for high-density vertical interconnection of stacked dies, full lateral interconnection (ZMV) for large-area splicing, and high-performance omnidirectional interconnection (ODI). , These are undoubtedly the key points for the recombination of small chips after splitting.

On "Architecture Day" last year, Intel officially revealed the idea of "decomposition design", and most of it was placed on Intel's 2023 product roadmap. Intel's decomposition design is to convert a single-chip solution that must be integrated under a process into a multi-node chip integration solution, and then use advanced packaging technology to quickly realize different products.

The advantages of decomposition design are unmatched by traditional design methods. Decomposition design can meet the flexibility of market demand and the flexibility of engineering and manufacturing. In addition, the decomposition of the design can also effectively reduce the bugs of the chip. The IP used is verified, and no new bugs will be generated due to the entanglement between the CPU and the GPU.

Pat Kissinger said: "The IDM model means that Intel can use the supply chain to satisfy our customers, and our competitors cannot do this."


The author believes that the new IDM model in the future will be an important "tool" for Intel's development. Although it is undeniable that Intel has experienced a leading and lagging cycle, in fact, small chip 2.0 products have been placed in 2023 products. In the roadmap, the maturity of many technologies will lead to new trends in the industry. This is the ultimate reason why Intel's CPU has gradually become XPU in recent years. XPU builds heterogeneous computing, and chiplet 2.0 is also the "secret weapon" that promotes Intel's transformation from CPU to XPU.

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