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Blogs - Chip Supremacy 


Chip supremacy can only be maintained through manufacturing supremacy.

The West dominates the World in terms of chip design with fables giants like QUALCOMM and Broadcom and chips-less geniuses like ARM. This is complemented by the formidable chip design efforts of Apple, Google and Facebook. However, I firmly believe that not the design, but the manufacturing capabilities are the key to chip supremacy. The best illustration of this is the historic rivalry between Intel and AMD.

For many decades Intel was dominating the microprocessor market, mainly because of the uncontested supremacy of their technology. Every two years I had to buy a new laptop for me, and new workstations for my Device Modelling Group members because of the doubling microprocessor speed.

Than the unthinkable happen. AMD took the upper hand in the microprocessor game producing in 2004 the first multicore chip – the Opteron. At that time, I was procuring the first computer cluster for my group. In all benchmarks the dual core Opterons were delivering more bang per buck compared to the equivalent Intel single core processors. However, AMD new that Intel can easy catch up in the multi-core game, and in order to sustain their supremacy they needed to enter the manufacturing game. This proved to be much tougher than excelling in design. We all know the history of the AMD ‘supper’ chip plant in Dresden.

It took Intel just two years to catch-up with the multicore architecture and to restore its microprocessor supremacy.

However, riding on the first FinFET success Intel dropped the ball and lost its technology supremacy. This created new opportunities for AMD, who are now manufacturing their chips on 7nm TSMC CMOS, moving swiftly to 5nm and 3nm The only path for Intel back to microprocessor supremacy is to become a technology leader again, begging in the meantime TSMC for access to 3nm CMOS

What about the chip supremacy of Qualcomm, Broadcom, Apple, Google, Facebook and the others alike? With the Kirin chipsets Huawei was on its way to a 5G mobile chip supremacy. Only protective actions of the US government saved the day for the US design giants

Meanwhile, Samsung is catching up with the Exynos mobile chip set, which now yields much closer Galaxy S21 performance compared to the Snapdragon Galaxy S21 at longer battery life

Huawei has learned their lessons and are planning to start the manufacturing of their own chips in China in 2022

So, what is these days the chip supremacy strategy of the Western fables giants? #semiconductor

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