Patrick Gelsinger, the CEO of Intel Corporation, will visit Asia next week as part of the company’s ambitions to outsource some of its chip fabrication needs. Mr. Gelsinger is expected to visit Taiwan and Malaysia as part of his trip.
According to Bloomberg, to highlight the importance of the two countries in Intel’s efforts to turn around its recent misfortunes and regain the ability to mass-produce semiconductors using advanced manufacturing processes. And the plan heavily involves TSMC.
Intel is widely assumed to obtain elements of its CPUs and GPUs from Taiwan’s Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), with Intel’s current roadmap predicting that production parity with TSMC’s advanced technologies will be achieved by the second half of next year.
This isn’t the first time rumors of an Intel executive trip to Taiwan have circulated in the media. It comes after one from Taiwan surfaced last week, just after Mr. Gelsinger stated that the region’s uncertain geopolitical character was not good for the global semiconductor sector, which has seen its business pioneer leading technology but slows down in recent years.
According to the first story, Intel executives would travel to the island to conclude a contract with TSMC for 3-nanometer (nm) products. According to TSMC CEO Dr. C.C. Wei, this technique will be one of the most advanced chipmaking processes in the world once it enters mass production next year. By the second half of next year, TSMC, Samsung Group, and Intel themselves plan to have similar technologies on the production lines.
Samsung’s optimism has resulted in the company publicly announcing that the first 3nm devices from its lines, which use a newer transistor design, will be available in the first half of next year. Neither TSMC nor Samsung have stated a comparable schedule.
While Bloomberg’s report isn’t as detailed as DigiTimes’, it seems that the primary goal of a high-level meeting between Intel and TSMC will be to assure Intel has a consistent supply of 3nm processors. According to the Taiwanese tabloid, Intel would work to ensure that its orders are unaffected by Apple Inc.’s Cupertino headquarters. Apple is usually assumed to have first dibs on TSMC’s latest goods, and the limited amount of 3nm output from the fab will result in strong competition between companies.
According to DigiTimes, this output should not surpass 40,000 wafers per month in 2022, and Intel may also begin talks with TSMC over the latter’s N2 process technology family. While the industry has anticipated that 3nm will take longer to develop, TSMC stated earlier this year that customer interest in N3 was more than twice as strong as that of previous N5 technologies, with the company receiving more than double the tapeouts for N3.
TSMC’s next-generation chip technology, the N2 family, will supersede 3nm. Mr. Y.P. Chin, the business’s senior vice president of operations, claimed in June that his company was in the process of obtaining property for the production sites that will eventually produce N2. Due to the large volumes of water and power used in semiconductor production, a projected 2nm factory in Taiwan’s Taichung city has raised local worries over water and power usage.
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