In a squeeze, TrendForce announced that, according to its investigation, TSMC will mass-produce the next-generation entry-level, mid-range and high-end Intel processors on its 5nm and 3nm process nodes. Intel has already announced that it will be outsourcing several of its processorless chips to third-party foundries, but this major news confirms that they plan to move even their largest product lines to outside factories.
Next-generation Intel Core i3 processors to be produced on TSMC’s 5nm process node, high-end and mid-range processors to be produced on TSMC’s 3nm node in 2H 2022
It appears that after Alder Lake in 2H 2021, Intel will move to TSMC as the main partner in the serial production of its next-generation processor line. The press release says that the Intel Core i3 processors will be the first mass-production line made at TSMC and will use its 5nm process node. Note that mass production doesn’t exactly mean a hard launch and we might end up getting these chips later around 2022. That said, Alder Lake processors will focus on high performance while using the Enhanced SuperFin 10 process node. nm.
But Intel plans to move its entire midrange and high-performance lineup to TSMC by 2H 2022. The next-generation processors will feature TSMC’s more advanced 3nm process node and will be successors to the Alder Lake lineup. It’s unclear whether these will be mobility or desktop components, but given where things are heading, Intel could use TSMC for mass production of both segments.
Press release – Intel has outsourced production of about 15-20% of its non-processor chips, with most wafer starts for these products being attributed to TSMC and UMC, according to the latest TrendForce surveys. As the company plans to launch mass production of Core i3 processors at TSMC’s 5nm node in 2:21, Intel’s mid-range and high-end processors are expected to enter mass production using TSMC’s 3nm node in 2h22.
In recent years, Intel has seen some setbacks in the development of 10nm and 7nm processes, which has significantly hampered its competitiveness in the market. When it comes to smartphone processors, most of which are based on the ARM architecture, Apple and HiSilicon were able to announce the most advanced mobile AP-SoC ahead of their competitors, thanks to TSMC’s technical advancements in process technology. .
When it comes to processors, AMD, which also outsources its processor production to TSMC, is gradually threatening Intel’s PC processor market share. In addition, Intel has lost processor orders for the MacBook and Mac Mini, as both products are now equipped with Apple Silicon M1 processors, announced by Apple last year and manufactured by TSMC. The aforementioned changes in the smartphone and PC processor markets led Intel to announce its intention to outsource processor manufacturing during 2H20.
TrendForce believes that increased outsourcing of its product lines will not only allow Intel to continue its existence as a major IDM, but also maintain in-house production lines for high-margin chips, while spending more effectively CAPEX in advanced R&D. In addition, TSMC offers a diverse range of solutions that Intel can use during product development (eg, chips, CoWoS, InFO, and SoIC). Overall, Intel will be more flexible in its planning and will have access to various value-added opportunities using TSMC’s production lines. At the same time, Intel now has a chance to be on the same level as AMD when it comes to manufacturing processors with advanced process technologies.
Intel had previously confirmed that DG1, Tiger Lake, and SG1 (a version of DG1 designed for servers) would be made in-house on the Intel 10nm SuperFin process. The next Intel Xe HPG GPU for gamers will be made on an external foundry process – most likely TSMC (and likely the 7nm process given the 2021 schedule).