Intel talks with TSMC and Samsung about partially outsourcing chip production

Intel is in talks with several semiconductor manufacturers, according to financial news agency Bloomberg. The company is said to be in talks with TSMC and Samsung about the possible outsourcing of part of Intel’s chip production.

Anonymous sources from Bloomberg, who are involved in the negotiations, according to the news agency, claim that Intel has not yet made a final decision on the partial outsourcing of its chip production. The company must announce its plans in less than two weeks, the website writes. Intel will hold a conference call with investors on January 21, and CEO Bob Swan previously promised the chip maker will present a plan on that date.

The sources report that any Intel chips produced by TSMC will use current processes that are also purchased by other customers of the Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturer. Intel products manufactured by TSMC would “ not be on the market until 2023 at the earliest. ”

Bloomberg sources report that TSMC is preparing to produce Intel chips on its 4nm node. Test production of TSMC’s 4nm process will begin this year and more large-scale production is planned for 2022. TSMC is already conducting initial tests for Intel, the sources claim. The manufacturer would do that on its current 5nm node. The talks with Samsung are said to be at an early stage. No details are shared about a possible collaboration between Intel and Samsung.

Intel has been struggling with chip production delays for some time. The company struggled to cost-effectively start up 10nm mass production, forcing Intel to delay the introduction of that node. The 10nm process is now used for Ice Lake and Tiger Lake laptop processors. The first 10nm desktop processors in the form of Intel’s Alder Lake series are expected to appear this year . In March, Intel would release Rocket Lake processors, which are expected to be made at 14nm. Intel introduced its first 14nm chips in 2014.

In July, Intel announced that it must also postpone its 7nm process . This node was initially planned for this year , but would not be ready until 2022 or 2023. Intel already indicated at the time that it is considering outsourcing the production of its upcoming 7nm video cards for data centers to other semiconductor manufacturers. Intel stated at a 2019 conference that the transistor density of its 7nm process is comparable to competitors’ 5nm nodes. Intel’s current 10nm node is comparable to TSMC’s 7nm process in that respect.