Yesterday we had the opportunity to participate in a special event where Intel reviewed the most important keys of the past year. There is no doubt that 2021 was a very busy year, but also it was a very positive year for the chip giant, especially for the confirmation of its return to the general consumer GPU sector, for its adventure in the field of graphic accelerators for servers and data centers, for the important advance that the Xeon Sapphire Rapids represent, and also for the point of inflection that has marked Alder Lake-S.
However, we must not overlook the IDM 2.0 strategy. The CEO of Intel himself, Pat Gelsinger, has referred to it on more than one occasion, and it is clear that, with the panorama that we have lived in 2021, and what we still have ahead of us in 2022, this represents a success by the Santa Clara company. This strategy is that Intel is not only capable of designing its own chips, but it is also capable of manufacturing them.
Having that own production capacity has had important consequences that we have seen throughout the past year. By not having a great dependence on third parties, Intel can produce chips at its own pace, and with higher transistor density, even that of companies like TSMC. This has important implications, among which we can highlight a greater responsiveness, and maneuverability, to semiconductor shortages, and also the possibility to work, and to innovate, independently.
Before last year’s semiconductor crisis, many questioned Intel’s decision to keep its semiconductor factories, rather than go outright as a “fabless” company. Today, a year after that crisis, we can see that the Santa Clara giant got it completely right. Silicon has become, making a simple but effective analogy, in the “gold of the XXI century”, and being able to work it and turn it into next-generation semiconductors marks an important advantage for any technology giant.
Intel will maintain this strategy of designing, and manufacturing, its own chips, and will also continue to strengthen its 3D encapsulation and stacking technologies, two keys that will continue to shape the future of the sector, and that is that, in the end, the 2D space presents some increasingly important limitations, and the only way to overcome them will be through chip stack.