Intel's fab tech is flagging, competition says

Glofo – the little foundry that thought it could – was firing shots over the broadside not just of rival TSMC this week at MWC, but also big chipper Intel.

While waxing lyrical over the merits of its increasingly lusty affair with ARM, the fab folks at Glofo were also claiming they would deliver 28nm technology in 2H 2010 – faster than TSMC, and even temporarily leapfrogging the mighty Intel in the arms race for process technology supremacy.  

This may or may not be accurate, and the boasts should probably be taken with a grain of salt, as Intel has already shipped 32nm parts in volume – even though sources tell us the initial ramp has been a little slower than expected adding to speculation around slow yield ramps.  

Also, it’s important to note that Intel has never embraced half node technology, instead opting for full node transitions which somewhat muddies any comparison with Glofo.

But while Intel continues to set the standard, with Glofo hot on its heels, all eyes will turn to TSMC to see if the chambers finally match up this time around, especially given all the new ingredients in the pantry for 28nm.

The Taiwanese semi will introduce both immersion and HKMG at 28nm, adding two new mission-critical elements to its recipe for wafer baking.  

With the bad taste of sour silicon still in its mouth on 40nm, one has to wonder what the future holds for the battleground of foundry technology supremacy in 2010.

It’s certainly shaping up to be an interesting race and a fab year.