What do engineers at process manufactures like Nvidia / Intel actually do everything?

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Are these companies essentially running academic style research labs where engineers / scientists are testing out theories to improve manufacturing until they hit upon a discovery/Solution?

If this is the case: How are they able to have roadmaps saying what types of chips we will have 3-4 years from now?

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Edit: Title should be **do everyday**

In: Engineering

Intel makes their own chips. Nvidia doesn’t. Nvidia’s chips are made by companies like TSMC.

A given manufacturing process from these companies is usually in development for at least a decade. So by the time they announce it, they’re usually a good part of the way there. It takes billions of dollars and at least 4-5 years to get a new top of the line chip fab up and running. This is part of why there’s a chip shortage right now, no company wants to sink billions into what is a bump in the road so to speak. They would never make the investment back.

But as far as the R&D goes, they have a good idea of the science behind it and what they need to do to get there. What they’re generally trying to figure out is the engineering aspects. How they mix chemicals together, how long they expose the chips to the various steps and lights/lasers/etc. They’re usually struggling to make sure they can produce enough chips reliably for it to be profitable. Silicon crystals used for these things are not cheap and low yields means a lot of lost money. One of the biggest setbacks Intel has been facing is low yields on their top of the line chips which is why they haven’t been using them as much as some of their slightly older ones.

If you’re referring to chip design, which both Intel and Nvidia do, then not really. Almost all of their work is done by software and the engineers are usually figuring out new ways for software to work on their hardware and making sure the hardware is designed for that purpose.


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