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Advancements in Chipset Technology: Expanding the Limits of Manufacturing Techniques

The semiconductor industry has been a cornerstone of technological advancement, powering everything from smartphones to supercomputers.

As we stand at the threshold of the 3nm era with the A17 Pro Bionic chipsets, it’s worth exploring how far we can push the boundaries of manufacturing processes.

The Current State of Chipsets

The A17 Pro Bionic chipset, announced on September 12, 2023, is a 64-bit ARM-based system on a chip (SoC) designed by Apple Inc. and manufactured by TSMC.

It’s the first widely available SoC to be built on a 3nm process.

The A17 Pro features an Apple-designed 64-bit six-core CPU with two high-performance cores running at 3.78 GHz, and four energy-efficient cores running at 2.11 GHz

The Roadmap to the Future

The Roadmap to the Future

Intel’s roadmap until 2025 outlines a transition to Intel 7 and Intel 4, with Intel 3, 20A, and 18A coming in the next few years.

The company aims to achieve “process leadership” in 2025.

The 20A (the company’s 2nm process) is said to be where Intel will reach “process parity” and will debut with Arrow Lake and the company’s first usage of PowerVia and RibbonFET.

Then 18A will be 1.8nm using both PowerVia and RibbonFET.

The Challenges Ahead

The Future of Chipsets: Pushing the Boundaries of Manufacturing Processes

As we push the boundaries of manufacturing processes, we encounter several challenges.

The cost of building and operating fabs has risen significantly.

The government incentives landscape is still being pondered upon across multiple parts of the world, new, more aggressive financial support programs will be critical to make the economics of these massive capital-intense projects viable.

Moreover, the global $450 billion semiconductors industry was blindsided due to the global pandemic after a massive demand for semiconductors.

The crunch led to supply chain issues as the industry relied on a few giant players.

The Future Beyond 2nm

The Future Beyond 2nm

IBM researchers have presented a set of innovations showing a future beyond nanosheet devices and copper interconnects.

These innovations lay the groundwork for a near future where semiconductors with nodes at 1nm and beyond are possible.

However, it should be noted that all of this work is currently highly theoretical.

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