Patrick Gelsinger, Intel CEO, at the WEF in Davos, Switzerland on May 23rd. 2022.
Adam Galica | CNBC
Two of the most important American semiconductor companies disagree about the pace of chip advancements and whether Moore’s Law still applies.
Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said on Tuesday at a company launch event that Moore’s Law, a rule of thumb from Intel’s founder dating back to the 1960s, is “alive and well.” The theory, posited by Gordon Moore, implies that chips will continue to get faster and cheaper at a predictable rate.
Nvidia, which is now about three times more valuable than Intel, is preaching a very different message. Co-founder and CEO Jensen Huang said last week that Moore’s Law has ended.
“The method of using brute force transistors and the advances of Moore’s law has largely ran its course,” Huang told investors after unveiling new products.
The divergence underscores the stark contrast between Intel and other American semiconductor companies. Intel has committed to continue manufacturing some of its chips, while Nvidia and others rely primarily on third-party foundries outside of the US
Moore’s Law specifically refers to the number of transistors on a chip, which Moore said would double every other year, enhancing processing power. To increase the number of transistors on a chip, they have to be made smaller, requiring advancements in manufacturing technology.
For years, Intel was the leader in semiconductor manufacturing technology and consistently made chips with the densest transistors in the world. But in recent years, Intel has been surpassed by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company and Samsung, which can currently produce processors with 5-nanometer transistors, while Intel is still stuck on 10-nanometer and 7-nanometer technologies.
One of Intel’s core corporate goals under Gelsinger is to get back to “performance leadership,” which means that its chips need