The future of Intel's manufacturing processesby Anand Lal Shimpi on December 11, 2000 1:23 AM EST
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Consistency in production is a sign of a great manufacturer, one that will be with us for the duration of the ride, and not just a brief period. Now that we have seen Intel through their good times as well as their more recent bad times, we can make a fairly accurate statement summarizing a characteristic of theirs that has not failed the company, even when the going got tough.
While there have been times when Intel hasn’t had the fastest processor on the block, as well as instances when they weren’t always the most desirable name in the industry, it can’t be refuted that Intel has always excelled in one major area: manufacturing.
Intel’s manufacturing processes have always seemed to be one step ahead of the competition and have never failed them. Even the latest Intel blunder, the recall of the 1.13GHz Pentium III can be attributed to a poor marketing decision to launch a chip that was obviously not 100% ready for production. In this case, the Pentium III was limited by its architecture, the 0.18-micron manufacturing process Intel produced it on was not to blame.
Until recently, Intel hasn’t had a need to tout their manufacturing capabilities, since they’ve always been able to live off of the success of their chipsets and processors. Now with their dominance being questioned by AMD’s astounding success Intel is just starting to get things back together again. With the press giving Intel a very difficult time, especially with the recent Pentium 4 release, Intel is in desperate need of a bit of positive light. Which is why today, Intel is making a fairly large announcement regarding the development of their 0.13-micron manufacturing process as well as their predictions for their upcoming 0.10 and 0.07-micron processes as well.
What this translates to for you all is nothing much since the first 0.13-micron processors from Intel won’t hit the streets until Q2-2001 as we diagramed in our Intel CPU & Chipset Roadmap not to mention that we won’t even see 0.07-micron technology until 2005. However this announcement does give us a unique opportunity to discuss some of what may be possible in the future, as well as shed some light on Intel’s plans for their NetBurst Architecture.