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