Intel Foundry Services has introduced its new 16nm-class process technology called Intel 16 to address mobile, RF, IoT, consumer, storage, military, aerospace, and government applications. The new technology complements Intel’s 22nm FFL process and is said to be an inexpensive FinFET-based node.
According to press releases from Synopsys, Cadence Digital and Ansys, IFS’s Intel 16 is specifically designed to address a wide variety of customers’ applications RF and analog capability (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth), mmWave, consumer electronics, storage, military, aerospace, and government applications. The 16nm-class technology promises to offer higher transistor density, higher performance, lower power, fewer masks, and simpler back-end design rules compared to planar production nodes used for these applications today.
There are hundreds of widely used applications with long lifecycles that rely on mature process technologies, particularly in fields like application processors, controllers, analog, consumer electronics, and radio. Many of them use planar transistors-based process technologies due to costs, design simplicity, and high yields. While industry experts at large tend to admire massively powerful processors like AMD’s Instinct MI300 or Nvidia’s H100, there are plenty of chips — even in industries like artificial intelligence and high-performance computing — that are considerably smaller and consume only a fraction of power.
In many cases these mature and emerging applications can still benefit from newer FinFET-based production technologies, which is why TSMC offers its N12e node, whereas IFS is now rolling out its Intel 16 process technology.
All three leading providers of electronic design automation (EDA) and IP — Ansys, Cadence, and Synopsys — already support Intel 16 process technology with their certified software flows and IP. For example, Cadence has ported a variety of its IP blocks to Intel 16, including PCIe 5.0; 25G-KR Ethernet multi-protocol PHY; multi-protocol PHY for consumer applications supporting standards such as PCIe 3.0 and USB 3.2; multi-standard PHY for LPDDR5/4/4X memory; andMIPI D-PHY v1.2 for cameras and displays. Meanwhile, Synopsys offers its AI-enabled Synopsys.ai set of tools for faster chip implementation.
Fabless chip developers can start using design, verification, and simulation tools to produce their designs.