EE Times had a chat with Intel's processor architecture head David Perlmutter and got to hear that the company is confident that it will be able to beat ARM beyond 20nm. Intel claims it currently has a line of sight all the way to a 7nm process, with all the chip giant's processors becoming SoCs in 2013. The future 14nm process reportedly delivers impressive power efficiency gains, and processors made on this process node are anticipated to integrate baseband radio. Meanwhile, the ARM ecosystem is currently struggling at 28nm and analysts expect the problems will only get worse at sub-20nm nodes.
Meanwhile, the ARM ecosystem has a rather more challenging road ahead of it, with low cost continuing to present a challenge for foundry supply, yield and materials science. ARM is seeing Moore's Law slowing down due to a lack of foundry spending and a deficit in R&D capabilities.
Even at the 28-nm, the ARM ecosystem is feeling the squeeze. Until very recently only one foundry (TSMC) could yield 28-nm chips, with Globalfoundries just starting to produce 28-nm in volume, and the entire industry is under-supplied.
With Intel pushing ahead to introduce FinFETs at the 22-nm and hoping to use EUV lithography at 14 nm and below, ARM faces an even bigger crisis of competition.