TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Intel has had discussions with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) and Samsung Electronics Co. about outsourcing some of its chip production.
Despite being hit with serious delays to its 7-nanometer process, Intel has yet to make a final decision on outsourcing, according to Bloomberg. Intel CEO Bob Swan previously said he plans to announce the company’s path forward on an earnings call scheduled for Jan. 21.
Any chips outsourced to TSMC would not be available for market until 2023 at the earliest and would be manufactured using mature nodes, sources told Bloomberg. Discussions with Samsung are at an even more preliminary stage, the sources said.
TSMC company is preparing to offer Intel chiplets made using its 4 nm process, with initial testing using an older 5 nm process, the report said. The world’s largest contract chipmaker has said test production of 4 nm chips will be ready by the fourth quarter of this year, with volume production set for 2022.
The Taiwanese company plans to have a new facility in Baoshan, Hsinchu, ready by the end of the year. This could be set up for Intel production if needed, according to one source.
Intel’s 7 nm process was supposed to be up and running by the fourth quarter of this year; however, a defect in their manufacturing technology forced them to push the release date as far back as 2023. This followed a three-year delay in the introduction of their 10 nm chips, which are only now entering mainstream use.
Intel’s troubles have allowed TSMC and Samsung to develop more advanced technologies in the meantime. By comparison, TSMC has already begun producing their 5 nm chips in volume for major clients like Apple.
This would not be the first time Intel has tapped TSMC to make its chips. In 2018, Intel outsourced a portion of its 14 nm chip production to the Taiwanese company amid high demand and manufacturing issues.