Monday, July 27th 2020

TSMC Allocation the Next Battleground for Intel, AMD, and Possibly NVIDIA

With its own 7 nm-class silicon fabrication node nowhere in sight for its processors, at least not until 2022-23, Intel is seeking out third-party semiconductor foundries to support its ambitious discrete GPU and scalar compute processor lineup under the Xe brand. A Taiwanese newspaper article interpreted by Chiakokhua provides a fascinating insight to the the new precious resource in the high-technology industry - allocation.

TSMC is one of these foundries, and will give Intel access to a refined 7 nm-class node, either the N7P or N7+, for some of its Xe scalar compute processors. The company could also seek out nodelets such as the N6. Trouble is, Intel will be locking horns with the likes of AMD for precious foundry allocation. NVIDIA too has secured a certain allocation of TSMC 7 nm for some of its upcoming "Ampere" GPUs. Sources tell China Times that TSMC will commence mass-production of Intel silicon as early as 2021, on either N7P, N7+, or N6. Business from Intel is timely for TSMC as it is losing orders from HiSilicon (Huawei) in wake of the prevailing geopolitical climate.
Sources: Hexus.net, Chiakokhua (Twitter)
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27 Comments on TSMC Allocation the Next Battleground for Intel, AMD, and Possibly NVIDIA

#1
dj-electric
This war will be driven by cash.
Intel have cash, lots of it. Maybe they figured its time to start burning it. Better late than never...
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#2
R0H1T
The only way Intel usurps AMD in the race from getting high volumes on the top tier (TSMC) nodes is if they abandon or at least partially pull back on their ambitious plans on 7nm & 5nm of their own. Between consoles, enterprise, client & of course GPUs I bet AMD is right up there as of now, alongwith Apple, as the most lucrative partner & that TSMC will certainly not want to jeopardize their relations because Chipzilla had a sudden change of heart.
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#3
Fluffmeister
Yeah in a somewhat ironic twist, AMD's financial woes meant the days of "real men have fabs" was over as it was something they couldn't afford anymore, and becoming a TSMC customer instead helped them leapfrog the big blue meanie.
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#4
HD64G
Intel won't be a stable partner for TSMC. It is a direct competitor to them to be frank. So, why to help them win over their permanent partner that AMD is to them? For longterm strategy this isn't a good plan. And those companies work mainly on that longterm strategy plans. My 5c.
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#5
Bruno Vieira
HD64G
Intel won't be a stable partner for TSMC. It is a direct competitor to them to be frank. So, why to help them win over their permanent partner that AMD is to them? For longterm strategy this isn't a good plan. And those companies work mainly on that longterm strategy plans. My 5c.
Not quite, they dont build chips to anyone other them themselfes.
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#6
ARF
Bruno Vieira
Not quite, they dont build chips to anyone other them themselfes.
How so? Intel sells its chips, so that directly takes market share and orders away both from AMD and its Fab TSMC..
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#7
R0H1T
Bruno Vieira
Not quite, they dont build chips to anyone other them themselfes.
Nope, Intel's always been a competitor to TSMC & Samsung as well as GF previously whether directly or indirectly.
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#8
Mark Little
As much as I like to see Intel suffer, TSMC should remain as neutral as possible and provide fab services as fairly as possible in this cutthroat business world.
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#9
ARF
Intel also competes directly with TSMC for the ASML lithography machines.
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#10
dorsetknob
"YOUR RMA REQUEST IS CON-REFUSED"
Mark Little
TSMC should remain as neutral as possible and provide fab services as fairly as possible in this cutthroat business world.
TSMC has a finite number of wafers available (+ spare production capacity).
with contracts signed to supply existing customers
its going to come down to Intels FAT Wallet i suspect that wafer costs will rise due to demand and that finite supply !!!
Bulk wafer auctions anyone
Posted on Reply
#11
ARF
dorsetknob
TSMC has a finite number of wafers available (+ spare production capacity).
with contracts signed to supply existing customers
its going to come down to Intels FAT Wallet i suspect that wafer costs will rise due to demand and that finite supply !!!
Bulk wafer auctions anyone
No . ?
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#12
Dave65
dj-electric
This war will be driven by cash.
Intel have cash, lots of it. Maybe they figured its time to start burning it. Better late than never...
So correct me if I am wrong. Are you saying Intel will pay TSMC more money to favor Intel over AMD?
Because that is what Intel does best.
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#13
PowerPC
Intel gets in just in time as Huawei has to pull out. Probably Intel saw how everybody else seems to be profiting from TSMC, and now that they know their own R&D process has stalled compared to TSMC, they have to fall in line or go down with the ship. I believe Intel has had problems with research for years already. Or they just didn't want their research to be "too fast", because as almost a monopoly, they could stall research forever. No wonder they have problems now and Intel needs this to work. Whoever thinks Intel doesn't want to do this, doesn't understand how much they are scrambling for a chance right now to survive.
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#14
bonehead123
Mark Little
provide fab services as fairly as possible in this cutthroat business world.
HAHAHAHAHAHA...... as the saying goes "all is fair in love & war"....

And just to be clear, this IS war, no if's, andz, or BUTTs about it, and TSMC doesn't/won't give a crap whoelse wins or loses, as long as the mega-huge-giga-normous orders keep coming in from all sides, they are in it to win it, in no uncertain terms :rockout:

Cutthroat you say...nah, surely not :fear:

Intel did this to themselves and has nobody else to blame...

I'm soooo glad I bought a bunch of TSMC shares back when they were a much smaller & undervalued company (just like I did with that little fruit stand in Cupertino !) ..:respect:..:p..:peace:
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#15
JustAnEngineer
bonehead123
I'm soooo glad I bought a bunch of TSMC shares back when they were a much smaller & undervalued company
I bought some TSM american depositary receipts (ADRs) 25 years ago. They've appreciated quite a bit since then, but they're not up nearly as much as your AAPL shares.

TSM has shown that they're willing to re-invest billions into their company to grow and be more competitive, and that trust in their own business has paid off. Lesser management would have pissed the money away with stock buy-backs or overly large dividends for short-term stock price returns, but they've grown the value of their shares by growing the value of the company.
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#16
TheEndIsNear
I'm so glad I was right seeing this coming. Usually I buy high and sell low lol. But this stock at 29 bucks has beat my expectations. I wish I would of bought more. They are ahead of everyone but Samsung is closest.
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#17
watzupken
HD64G
Intel won't be a stable partner for TSMC. It is a direct competitor to them to be frank. So, why to help them win over their permanent partner that AMD is to them? For longterm strategy this isn't a good plan. And those companies work mainly on that longterm strategy plans. My 5c.
This is certainly true. Intel themselves own fabs and are only utilizing TSMC because they are facing difficulties on their end. At some point if they resolve their issues, their reliance on TSMC will reduce. AMD however would seem like a credible long term customer for TSMC since they have moved away from GF for their cutting edge products. I suspect there may be spare capacity that got freed up due to TSMC losing Huawei as a client. So Intel is quite fortunate to be a beneficiary of some of the spare capacity.
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#18
sergionography
I can't help it but feel like this is another Intel cheap trick to strike back at AMD similar to the original opteron/athlon64 days. If you can't beat them with a spanking new architecture then find a way to buy them away. In this case Intel has all the cash to buy as much capacity to starve out AMD and even Nvidia for that matter. This way AMD is limited in terms of expanding capacity/growing no matter how excellent their products are. Also TSMC is growing too big and I don't like it. Intel must stay relevant in the fabrication node race.
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#20
medi01
And Xe would be a major hit that will sell in tens of millions, because...?

It's a clickbait.
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#21
Mouth of Sauron
medi01
And Xe would be a major hit that will sell in tens of millions, because...?

It's a clickbait.
Talking to me? I haven't the faintest idea how intel GPU will fare (have suspicions, but nothing concrete) and how many super-computer contracts they already signed for future years.

I never said I do and never said that I think the other article is true, and this one is false. Just pointed that at the same time *this* rumour came up *different* rumour came up, too.

Peace...
Posted on Reply
#22
kapone32
HD64G
Intel won't be a stable partner for TSMC. It is a direct competitor to them to be frank. So, why to help them win over their permanent partner that AMD is to them? For longterm strategy this isn't a good plan. And those companies work mainly on that longterm strategy plans. My 5c.
Intel will use TSMC to gain mindshare. But if you don't think that samples will be going to Intel fabs you would be mistaken. If the past is anything to go by Intel is willing to do just about anything to maintain it's mindshare.
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#23
Tomorrow
dorsetknob
TSMC has a finite number of wafers available (+ spare production capacity).
with contracts signed to supply existing customers
its going to come down to Intels FAT Wallet i suspect that wafer costs will rise due to demand and that finite supply !!!
Bulk wafer auctions anyone
Intel will not buy out existing capacity from others (AMD etc). If TSMC tried to sell i to Intel now they would be in breach of contract with AMD and others and would be sued to hell and back. No amount of Intel cash would compensate this loss of trust. We're are talking about 2022-2023 here. That is what Intel is negotiating now for Xe.
medi01
And Xe would be a major hit that will sell in tens of millions, because...?

It's a clickbait.
Yes it will sell millions - to supercomputers and datacenters to specific. Remember we are talking about the HPC variant of Xe here not the consumer variant.
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#24
medi01
Tomorrow
Yes it will sell millions - to supercomputers and datacenters to specific. Remember we are talking about the HPC variant of Xe here not the consumer variant.
1) It's not something that gets delivered any time soon
2) No way Xe was developed on TSMC processes and no way it could be trivial to just jump off Intel's fab
3) It will largely depend on size. Millions of A100 chips is one thing, millions of 250mm2 chips is another. Note that for consoles alone, AMD will be ordering tens of millions of 300mm2+ chips.
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#25
RandallFlagg
So there was some more information recently about this.

So for one, we need to keep in mind Intel 10nm = TSMC 7nm and Intel 7nm = TSMC 5nm. Intel really only needs more 5nm which is almost entirely taken up by Apple this year, and they only need it in very specific scenarios. Given the relatively low volume required for PVC (keep in mind that Intel makes upwards of half a billion CPUs per year) the order is quite small.

Also note that 7nm at Intel is not ready for *volume* production (the 500M CPUs per year kind of volume), but they don't need to get high yields for this.

With that, from the article below :

"So we independently reached out to a couple of sources in Taiwan and got the facts first hand ...
  • TSMC's 5nm process is roughly comparable in density to Intel's 7nm process and PVC is only feasible at that density level - so 6nm (which is an optimized process for TSMC 7nm) is out of the question.
  • Ponte Vecchio will have multiple SKUs.
  • All PVC SKUs will have an IO die made at Intel.
  • Compute dies will be made either on Intel's 7nm process or TSMC's 5nm process depending on the exact SKU.
  • The Rambo cache will be made in-house at Intel as well.
  • The connectivity die (Intel Xe) was originally intended to be built over at TSMC and will remain that way.
  • Intel did place an order worth 180,000 wafers on the TSMC 6nm process but it is not related to PVC and is part of their ongoing partnership (Intel has been using TSMC for quite a long time)."
wccftech.com/exclusive-intel-ponte-vecchio-gpu-not-on-tsmc-6nm/
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