Intel taps Taiwan’s TSMC for graphics chips

Incoming CEO says Intel still aims to produce most chips in-house

TSMC logo (Reuters photo)

TSMC logo (Reuters photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Intel’s incoming CEO Pat Gelsinger said on Thursday (Jan. 21) that the company would outsource more chip production while continuing to focus on manufacturing the bulk of its new chips in-house.

The remarks were made in an earnings call covering the third quarter of 2020, the last full quarter under CEO Bob Swan before Gelsinger takes the helm on Feb. 15. Intel has been struggling with delays on its most advanced 7 nm process, which has allowed chip-making rivals like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp (TSMC) and Samsung to surpass the U.S. semiconductor giant.

“I am pleased with the progress made on the health and recovery of the 7-nanometer program,” Gelsinger said. “I am confident that the majority of our 2023 products will be manufactured internally. At the same time, given the breadth of our portfolio, it’s likely that we will expand our use of external foundries for certain technologies and products.”

During Thursday’s call, Swan said the decision to outsource production of Intel’s latest central processing unit would be left until after Gelsinger formally takes over. Intel is considering outsourcing some of its most advanced chips to TSMC, and possibly Samsung.

Intel has already chosen to outsource the production of new graphics-processing chips to TSMC, and the two companies have been in negotiations to further strengthen their relationship, according to The Wall Street Journal. Swan visited TSMC in December to discuss potential options.

Intel’s latest chips use 14 nm and 10 nm processes while TSMC and Samsung are now using a 5 nm process. The smaller the process, the more transistors can be squeezed onto one chip, which increases computing power and efficiency.

Updated : 2021-03-04 08:48 GMT+08:00