I agree, and we chemical engineers live for much of that stuff. But the way I see it there are two parts to this.The problem is that the process lead alone is not enough and sometimes it can be misleading or leading to attention be misplaced. There are many factors and capabilities need to be in place such as yield, IP, ecosystem, supply chain, timing, implementations, execution, cost, price, and capacity, etc.
People who question Pat and intel’s credibility, thinking that all nodes for the rest of time will be 10nm electric boogaloo, any claims that things are going well are lies, i4 won’t begin HVM until late 2024, intel engineers are too incompetent to ever be innovators again, blah blah blah. These people also often ignore TSMCs current roadmap and expect far too much from what is very much TSMC diping their toes into the HNS waters. In my opinion these people are doing TSMC a disservice by overhyping N2. There’s nothing wrong with N2, it is exactly what TSMC needs it to be (a strong low risk foundation to build off of). I don’t want people to start thinking less of those brilliant engineers and scientists at TSMC when N2 turns out exactly like TSMC said it would (a slightly better performing N3 at lower power).
Then there is the second group with the more realistic concerns of are intel’s node on time (excellent) or off by a couple of quarters (not great but still a MASSIVE improvement)? While they will probably have enough capacity for internal products how much will be available for i3/18A external customers? How does intel navigate the financial balancing act of raising the necessary capacity for becoming the number two foundry? How does intel’s wafer cost (with and without IFS’s margin) compare to what intel/other external customers would be paying TSMC and Samsung to make the same chip? What is the value add from intel’s presumed PPW leadership, and how much extra would customers pay for it over say Samsung? I think it is a safe assumption that the IP/design ecosystem for new intel nodes is much better than what it was during the custom foundry days, but how does it compare to Samsung and TSMC? I would assume that somewhere in the middle is a reasonable expectation but who knows this really is a whole new world for intel.