Intel in talks with TSMC about 4nm outsourcing

Posted on Saturday, Jan 09 2021 @ 09:20 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
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A rumor originated on Wall Street that Intel is in talks with both TSMC and Samsung about the outsourcing of future chip designs. Over the past couple of years, Intel has struggled to bring its 10nm process to volume production. The chip giant suffered several setbacks that resulted in multi-year delays and it's believed that even today 10nm yields are still nowhere near what is achieved on the 14nm node.

To make matters worse, Intel had to confess last year that its 7nm process is also facing delays. The continued manufacturing issues at Intel have resulted in pressure from investors and analysts to explore options.

Intel CEO Bob Swan promised a decision will be made this month. The chip giant is sorting out whether it will spend more on internal equipment, or whether to outsource more. An announcement is expected together with the fourth quarter earnings on January 21st.

A report from Bloomberg notes Intel hopes it can still make last-minute improvements to its internal production. The other plan is to outsource more chip production. Talks with TSMC are said to be in a more advanced stage than those with Samsung.

TSMC can reportedly offer Intel capacity on a future 4nm process node, with initial testing using an older 5nm node. The Taiwanese semiconductor foundry is building a new facility in Baoshan Township, Hsinchu County, Taiwan, that is expected to be ready for production by the end of this year. The new plant in Baoshan could be converted to production for Intel if necessary.

New chips outsourced to TSMC are not expected to hit the market until 2023.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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