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Introduction to Intel’s 32nm Process Technology

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Introduction to Intel’s 32nm Process Technology

Intel has been in high-volume manufacturing on its 32-nm process technology with second generation high-k + metal gate transistors since Q4, 2009. This process technology builds upon the tremendously successful 45-nm process technology–the first to use high-k + metal gate transistors–introduced a couple of years before.

Building upon the 45-nm process technology that led to the launch of the initial Intel® Core™ i7, i5, and i3 processor family based on Intel® microarchitecture code name Nehalem, Intel began high-volume production with its 32-nm process technology with second generation high-k + metal gate transistors in late 2009. This 32-nm process technology is being used to manufacture the latest versions of processors based on the Intel® microarchitecture code name Nehalem. Intel offers these 32-nm-based products across all computer market segments–embedded, mobile, desktop, and server. Intel is a leader in semiconductor manufacturing process technology and was the first company shipping 32-nm microprocessors for PCs–and the only company for well over a year. Intel is on track with its cadence of new product innovation–known as the “Tick-Tock” model–that delivers alternating new generations of advanced manufacturing process technology and processor microarchitecture every year: first the “tick” of a new manufacturing process technology applied to the existing processor microarchitecture, then the “tock" of a new processor microarchitecture built on the latest manufacturing process.

To understand the significance of 32-nm, we must first take a look back at 45-nm process technology and high-k + metal gate transistors:
To better understand the significance of the 32-nm process technology, it is helpful to look back and revisit the 45-nm process technology introduction that occurred in 2007. The Intel 45-nm process that enabled Intel to launch the incredibly successful and high-performing Intel microarchitecture codenamed Nehalem was the first to introduction high-k + metal gate transistors–a technological breakthrough that enabled higher-performing transistors while simultaneously reducing leakage currents. At the introduction of the 45-nm process technology, Intel promised a fast and meaningful ramp of the 45-nm technology.

Read the full 32-nm Process Technology White Paper.