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Intel says new 7nm chip will arrive in 2023: What you need to know

Intel New 7NM Chip
(Image credit: Intel)

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger announced that the upcoming 7-nanometer processors for PCs would arrive in 2023. Intel will be using TSMC to manufacture parts of the new 7nm chip which is an interesting development since TSMC also manufactures chips for rival AMD. 

This past Tuesday, the Intel CEO gave an update on Intel's CPU roadmap update for 2023, announcing two 7nm chips. The first goes by the name Meteor Lake, which is targeted towards PCs, while the second is named Granite Rapid and will be designed with data centers in mind. 

Gelsinger, who has made eye-raising statements recently, said, "Both Meteor Lake and Granite Rapids will have compute tiles built on Intel 7nm. And the strength of our new IDM 2.0 model (integrated device manufacturing) means we can strategically use the breadth of our ecosystem to our advantage." 

Gelsinger had made other recent comments regarding switching to 7nm chips and outsourcing their production from TSMC this past January. However, they were supposed to start showing up in the fourth quarter, but those plans changed when a defect caused Intel to postpone until 2023. 

Oddly, TSMC is already producing 5nm chips for Apple and is about to begin mass production using a new 3nm process marked to arrive in 2023, which would give them the edge over Intel for the foreseeable future. 

Gelsinger said during his Tuesday speech that "The 7nm Meteor Lake chip will use Intel’s chip-stacking technology called Foveros. This means the processor will be built by stacking various compute tiles."

Just because Intel is choosing to take advantage of TSMC's capabilities doesn't mean the US chipmaker is giving up on manufacturing chips in-house. They also announced Tuesday that Intel is entering the foundry business and investing $20 billion to construct two new fabrication locations in Arizona that will be fully capable of making 7nm chips. 

Looking beyond 2023, Gelsinger said Intel's goal is to return to a "Tick Tock" method to making chips smaller and then optimizing the technology. Gelsinger closed out with, "Now we’ve solidified the 2023 roadmap. Sunil and I are digging in to say 2024, 2025 unquestioned leadership at the architecture level,” Then Gelsinger added. “Hey, we were slow on some of those transitions before. We are out to be unquestioned leaders of the CPU."

All this is very exciting but leaves us wondering if Intel will start producing 5nm and 3nm processors. Outgoing CEO BobSaw stated in December 2020 that Intel remained invested in the technologies despite having 7nm trouble. With Apple and AMD already working on bringing both 5nm and 3nm technology to their chips, Intel is playing catch up and could be at risk of losing a larger share of the market. Only time will tell.