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Will Intel successfully reclaim the throne in semiconductor production?
Good morning from a frigid Colorado. It’s a balmy zero degrees this morning. And today I’m going to tell you a tale of three companies and the state of the semiconductor industry from a technological and production point of view. Now, if you go back to the world before 2017, the technology of the day was something called Deep ultraviolet, which was basically a way of producing microchips. And Intel, the American technological giant, was the world leader by pretty much any measure, and they had gotten a little cocky, and they had gotten a little bit lazy. So they would design chips 234 models out, but would only produce the next one up, because they were so far ahead of everybody else, they didn’t feel the need to jump steps. So they would use d u v. And they would make a chip that was marginally better than the one before. And then at the end of the year, no one was had caught up. So they do it again, and again, and again. And they did this for like 15 years. I mean, they’re very good at what they do. But they could have pushed the technological envelope a lot more if had they chosen to, in part that was because of the nature of D UV technology. The problem with it is you have to kind of make micro adjustments, and physically adjust the equipment for each type of chip. And you have to do that manually and physically. And so with every design, you had to do it all over. And with every machine in a fabrication facility, you would have to do it independently. So no new chips from different machines are going to be quite exactly alike. And it generated a relatively higher loss rate from the final semiconductors than what we have today. And so generated a little bit more waste. But again, they were the industry leader, no one was close. Well, they were always had their eye on the future, however, and so they invested in new technologies that would take them beyond d u v, one of which is e u v, extreme ultraviolet. And the company that developed that technology is ASML, out of the Netherlands, and back in 2016, ASML, thought this stuff was ready to go. So they’re providing demonstrations for Intel, showing them how this technology is better, you can not only get more nodes on a chip and get to smaller and smaller nanometers, but it’s all digital. So you kind of type in what you want to the machine over the course of a few days to a few weeks. And then the machine doesn’t actually have to be physically manipulated in the way that d u v did. Now, what that would mean is you’d have a higher success rate and more efficiency. But back in 2016, Intel was like, I don’t think this technology is quite right. And we’re the industry leader, we’re gonna give it a few more years. Well, ASML not very happy with that and marketed the technology to everybody else, and a company decided to take the plunge, that company is TSMC out of Taiwan. And when we get to 2017 TSMC suddenly hits the ball out of the park, and proves that UV is ready for mass application. And over the next couple of years very rapidly overtakes Intel, because they have a shorter turnaround time for their chips, and they can make chips with smaller nanometre sections. It isn’t until 2022 or 2023, that Intel finally makes its first extreme ultraviolet chips. So TSMC in Taiwan has been the industry leader now for several years. Now, we’ve had a kind of a reverse in the roles now. ASML, the Dutch have another another new technology called high numerical aperture whose physics I’m not going to pretend to understand. And they have marketed again, and this time, Intel is the one that’s behind, and they’re kind of desperate and kind of hungry, and TSMC is the one that’s resting on their laurels. So the first delivery of those new machines, the high end AI chips went to Intel in the second week of January of this year. And Intel expects two things. Number one, they plan to overtake TSMC using the EU V technology in 2024, hoping to get down to two nanometers right now the industry lead is at about three nanometers and that’s a TSMC product. And then next year, they hope to leapfrog even further, provided that these new high na machines work which we’ll get to we’ll find out pretty soon. Anyway, that’s where we are right now in terms of the overall geopolitics. It’s pretty straightforward right now 90% of all I hand chips are made by one company TSMC in one city in Taiwan, it’s a high concentration. But if Intel working with ASML can pull this off. All of a sudden we will have facilities in the United States that are working on the higher end stuff with some of the first facilities that are gonna be going online outside of Phoenix and Columbus, Ohio. So stay tuned because the geography of these chips is about to evolve pretty significantly. If high na works, and if not, we’re still stuck with Taiwan it could be worse.
Israel supplying early warning radar to Ukraine could be game-changer
Russia has positioned itself as a neutral player in Middle East affairs recently, maintaining stable ties with Israel and its Arab neighbors. But a shift occurred after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, as Israel now sees Russia’s more symbolic support for Hamas in Gaza as siding with the militant group. Straight Arrow News contributor Peter Zeihan…
Tourism thrives in Nashville, Tennessee
Tourism in the United States is a massive industry, contributing over $2 trillion to total U.S. GDP per year. However, the tourism habits of individuals across various income brackets can vary greatly. Understanding these differences can help tourism hotspots throughout the country prepare for growth and success in the 21st century. Straight Arrow News contributor…
North Dakota is a vital hub for agriculture and rail
Historically, human societies have relied upon waterways for trading agricultural goods. Since the dawn of the railroad era and modern transportation, however, that behavior has shifted. Straight Arrow News contributor Peter Zeihan argues that North Dakota boasts “the world’s deepest rail connection system” to ship out freight and agricultural goods entirely without waterway transportation. One…
Germany, Brexit and South Africa in geopolitics today
The United Kingdom is still struggling to cope with Brexit, Germany faces a demographic crisis, and South Africa has the potential to become so much more than it is today. And no, China is not behind the Israel-Hamas war. Straight Arrow News contributor Peter Zeihan addresses viewer-submitted questions about geopolitics in today’s world, responding to…
Should we worry about Chinese land purchases in US?
Some U.S. lawmakers have expressed concerns about increasing ownership of American land by Chinese entities, often attributing it to the Chinese government’s attempt to control food supply and surveil U.S. infrastructure. China ranks 18th on the list of foreign landowners in the U.S., trailing Canada, the Netherlands, Italy, and the U.K. So how worried should…
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