Look out, AMD. Intel has announced that it's done developing its new 32nm process technology, and it plans to reach 32nm "production readiness" in the fourth quarter of next year.
Intel says the new 32nm process makes use of "second-generation high-k + metal gate technology, 193nm immersion lithography for critical patterning layers and enhanced transistor strain techniques." The company also boasts that it has the highest transistor performance and density of "any reported 32nm technology in the industry." For more details, you'll have to wait until the chipmaker's presentation at the International Electron Devices meeting in San Francisco next week.
As the company points out, this milestone shows the "tick-tock" strategy remains pretty much in full swing. As part of that scheme, Intel is alternating new processor generation launches and die shrinks every year. The scheme began with 65nm Core 2 processors in the summer of 2006, which were followed by 45nm derivatives in late 2007 and the brand-new Core i7 series in November of this year. The next step is Westmere, a 32nm shrink of the Core i7 architecture.
The latest roadmaps show AMD doesn't plan to launch 32nm CPUs until 2011. Apparently, the smaller chipmaker will have to compete against 32nm Core i7 derivatives using its newly introduced 45nm architecture.