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How Intel Makes a Chip

Each “rev,” or revision, takes three months or so to make. “It’s tedious,” says Stephen Smith, an Intel vice president and general manager of the data center engineering group. This, for all the intricacy of the circuits, is what makes microchip development among the highest-stakes bets in all of business. If you have more than a few excursions by the time you get to first silicon, there will be long delays and lost revenue. And with every generation of ever smaller transistor, the stakes get higher. Krzanich notes that it takes twice as long to fab a chip today as it did 10 years ago. “Making something smaller is a problem of physics, and there are always ways to solve that,” he says. “The trick is, can you deliver that part at half the cost?”

Shrinking the transistors is only part of the challenge. Another is managing an ever more complex array of interconnects, the crisscrossing filaments that link the transistors to one another.

Great article from Bloomberg about the concepts and constraints that defined the state of the art in chip manufacturing from 2014-2016.

In a recent technology disclosure, Intel laid out their vision to stay in step with Moore’s Law for the next few years. Check out this quick interview with EVP Stacy Smith  and this presentation on 10 nm technology from Kaizad Mistry for more!