Image: CNET

CNET’s Stephen Shankland recently earned the privilege of stepping inside Intel’s Fab 42 in Chandler, Arizona, and managed to score a gallery of photos that provide a glimpse at some of Intel’s upcoming products. They include test chips for 14th Gen Intel Core “Meteor Lake” processors, which are being developed on the Intel 4 process for release in 2023, as well as Sapphire Rapids and Ponte Vecchio (Xe HPC) for the data center. The former is the latest member of the Xeon server chip family, while the latter is a high-performance computing engine that is planned for use in the Energy Department’s Aurora supercomputer.

Meteor Lake test chips

Image: CNET

Meteor Lake, a PC chip due to ship in 2023, uses a second generation of Intel’s Foveros technology to stack chiplets into a full processor. This Meteor Lake test vehicle is used to ensure the Foveros packaging is working correctly, with no alignment or electrical connection problems.

Wafer of Meteor Lake test chips

Image: CNET

A 300mm wafer is studded with hundreds of Meteor Lake test chips. In this case, a top layer of chiplets is bonded to a base layer. Through a process called dicing, the wafer is then sliced into individual processors.

Meteor Lake packaging tests

Image: CNET

Meteor Lake, powering PCs arriving in 2023, combines multiple chiplets into one larger processor using Intel’s Foveros packaging technology. That stacks chiplets vertically and links them with high-speed data connections. Here, individual chiplets are bonded to a bottom base wafer layer made of uncut chips.

Meteor Lake test chips

Image: Intel

Meteor Lake test chips are squeezed side by side on a 300mm Intel wafer, with some processing elements individually bonded to others on the wafer’s base layer below. This PC chip is due to ship in 2023. These are test chips to validate Intel packaging technology, not fully functioning processors.

Sapphire Rapids server chip

Image: CNET

This Sapphire Rapids server processor, due to ship in 2022 under Intel’s Xeon server chip brand, comprises four larger “chiplets” housing processing engines and four smaller high-bandwidth memory modules to store data. They’re all connected with Intel’s high-speed EMIB links, a packaging innovation that Intel hopes will help it compete against rivals including TSMC and Samsung.

Intel Ponte Vecchio processor

Image: CNET

Intel’s Ponte Vecchio processor, due to ship in 2022, is the brains of the Energy Department’s Aurora supercomputer. An Intel delay held up the machine’s arrival at Argonne National Laboratory, but Intel says its peak performance is double what was planned.

The full gallery can be found here. Intel shared a video back in 2019 that provides an inside look at its Fab 42 site, which boasts an overhead highway for transporting silicon wafers around its Arizona factories and a 12-acre water plant that treats 9.1 million gallons of wastewater a day.

Source: CNET

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