Intel won’t be using high-NA scanners to manufacture 18A-node chips, the company announced at the Intel Innovation 2023 conference (via Anandtech). As a result, the race to being the first chipmaker to apply the 300+-billion-dollar pieces of equipment in volume production just got a little more interesting.
The change of plans shouldn’t come as a surprise. Originally scheduled for 2025, the ramp-up of Intel 18A was pulled into the second half of 2024, while ASML’s high-NA roadmap still shows that shipments of production-grade high-NA scanners will start no earlier than 2025. As a result, Intel has no choice but to stick to 0.33-NA tools for 18A manufacturing. The processor firm and would-be foundry will be using the 18A node to validate high-NA technology, though.
ASML recently confirmed shipment of the first high-NA tool later this year. Intel claims to be the recipient of this pre-production machine.