You’ll likely have heard of the term “process node leadership” being bandied about from the red camp lately. It’s a term AMD hasn’t been able to use until recently with the advent of its Ryzen 3000 processors manufactured on the 7nm process node from TSMC. But behind the scenes there’s an even greater debate raging on in chip making: what decides a process node’s name, and what does it stand for?

In a recent paper, researchers suggest that semiconductor companies should ditch the loosely defined transistor gate length as a measure of technological advancement (i.e 7nm or 14nm), and instead focus on transistor density. That’s near-enough the same metric Intel’s been proposing for years now, but this time it’s also tacitly supported by Intel’s greatest rival, TSMC.

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