Intel has announced that its Lunar Lake MX processors will be the first to use TSMC’s N3B fabrication technology for their compute tile. This marks a significant development for Intel, as it is the first time the company will use a third-party process technology for one of its flagship CPUs.
TSMC’s N3B fabrication technology, also known as TSMC’s 3nm FinFET process, is the most advanced semiconductor technology in the industry. It offers significant improvements in power, performance, and area (PPA) over previous process technology generations.
The Lunar Lake MX processors are expected to offer:
- Up to eight general-purpose cores.
- The platform will have four high-performance Lion Cove and four Skymont energy-efficient cores.
- It will also have up to eight Xe2 GPU clusters.
- Additionally, it will have up to a six-tile NPU 4.0 AI accelerator.
- The platform will support both 8W fanless and 17W – 30W fanned designs.
- The processors on the platform will come with 16GB or 32GB of LPDDR5X-8533 memory-on-package.
- Intel estimates that the Lunar Lake MX design will save 100 to 250mm^2 of space compared to typical designs with memory outside the CPU package.
As said in the post, TSMC’s N3B process technology is likely being used because there is a need to integrate CPU and GPU cores within the same piece of silicon. This poses a challenge for Intel, as they do not yet have a mature 18A process technology. In contrast, TSMC’s N3B process technology has already been proven effective by other companies, including Apple and AMD.
It’s a significant development for Intel to use TSMC’s N3B process technology, which indicates that the company is willing to adopt third-party technologies. This approach deviates from Intel’s conventional method of designing and manufacturing its chips. Nevertheless, it’s essential for Intel to stay competitive in the semiconductor industry.
The Lunar Lake MX processors are expected to be released in 2024.