Wednesday, January 13th 2021

TrendForce: TSMC to Mass-Produce Select Intel Products, CPUs Starting 2021

According to a market analysis from TrendForce, Intel's manufacturing efforts with TSMC will go way beyond a potential TSMC technology licensing for that company's manufacturing technology to be employed in Intel's own fabs. The market research firm says that Intel will instead procure wafers directly from TSMC, starting on 2H2021, in the order of 20-25% of total production for some of its non-CPU products. But the manufacturing deal is said to go beyond that, with TSMC picking up orders for Intel's Core i3 CPUs in the company's 5 nm manufacturing node - one that Intel will take years to scale down to on its own manufacturing capabilities.

According to TrendForce, that effort will scale upwards with TSMC manufacturing certain allotments of Intel's midrange and high-end CPUs using the semiconductor manufacturer's 3 nm technology in 2022. TrendForce believes that increased outsourcing of Intel's product lines will allow the company to not only continue its existence as a major IDM, but also maintain and prioritize in-house production lines for chips with high margins, while more effectively spending CAPEX on advanced R&D due to savings on fabrication technology scaling - fewer in-house chips means lower needs for investment in capacity increases, which would allow the company to sink the savings into further R&D. The move would also allow Intel to close the gap with rival AMD's manufacturing advantages in a more critical, timely manner.
Sources: TrendForce, Via ctimes.com.tw
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45 Comments on TrendForce: TSMC to Mass-Produce Select Intel Products, CPUs Starting 2021

#1
Verpal
TSMC grip on global semiconductor market is ever growing..... and there is a golden opportunity to strike next week.
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#2
windwhirl
I don't like this. Too much concentration on very few fab companies.

Intel better fix their shit.
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#3
TechLurker
Maybe with that Intel cash, TSMC can finally build more production capacity. Console production isn't likely to slow down for a long while; moreso when the eventual "Pro" or "1Xtreme" Editions arrive as a mid-life refresh, and TSMC's major clients AMD and Apple (and Nvidia) would be more than happy to pay for the extra capacity. Especially, AMD, given that they need to keep up the Ryzen movement.
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#4
windwhirl
TechLurker
Maybe with that Intel cash, TSMC can finally build more production capacity. Console production isn't likely to slow down for a long while; moreso when the eventual "Pro" or "1Xtreme" Editions arrive as a mid-life refresh, and TSMC's major clients AMD and Apple (and Nvidia) would be more than happy to pay for the extra capacity. Especially, AMD, given that they need to keep up the Ryzen movement.
Yeah, but those fabs need some time to be built. The one in Arizona is set to take some three to four years to be finished.
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#5
Vya Domus
But I thought "10nm is progressing nicely" ?
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#6
DeathtoGnomes
if this equates into increased stock prices, investors will be happy not just the Intel fanbois
Vya Domus
But I thought "10nm is progressing nicely" ?
I couldnt help but notice you didnt put Intel and 10nm in the same sentence. intentional? :p :twitch:
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#7
Vya Domus
DeathtoGnomes
if this equates into increased stock prices, investors will be happy not just the Intel fanbois
No matter how they spin it the switch from one's own manufacturing to someone else's will always result in a loss of market value.

But, at least this way they can remain relevant.
DeathtoGnomes
I couldnt help but notice you didnt put Intel and 10nm in the same sentence. intentional? :p :twitch:
That's because when you hear "10nm" you immediately know who I am talking about. It's a meme.
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#8
TechLurker
windwhirl
Yeah, but those fabs need some time to be built. The one in Arizona is set to take some three to four years to be finished.
Of course, that's why I stated why they should still be built anyway.

Demand for consoles won't decrease; especially when the eventual refresh comes out (as those holdouts with older PS4/X1 "Pro" systems might finally choose to upgrade then, if they haven't already for one game or another). Demand for AMD and NVIDIA products won't decrease as long as they can continue to push out their product (especially in the real high-margin markets; the OEMs, mobile, and business/enterprise sector), and while GPUs should stabilize as demand gradually declines, there will likely be a new generation of GPUs to produce when those fabs are completed and AMD and Nvidia (and even Intel) would love more of that capacity to try and get more out sooner than later. There's also the commercial/enterprise market and the specialized GPU/Accelerators that could take up any slack from regular consumer GPUs too. Apple too, being a high-paying client, would love some extra capacity, even if they aren't as affected by product shortages as the other major TSMC customers.
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#9
Easo
I am honestly worried about this. TSMC right now is quite important to the world as whole, yet it looks like it is only a matter of time until China comes calling (I know I know, it is debatable, blah blah).
What then? Price hikes would be the least of worries.
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#10
TheLostSwede
Easo
I am honestly worried about this. TSMC right now is quite important to the world as whole, yet it looks like it is only a matter of time until China comes calling (I know I know, it is debatable, blah blah).
What then? Price hikes would be the least of worries.
Well, with all the breaches of Taiwan's ADIZ by Chinese aircraft these days...
Nothing is impossible, that's for sure.
Admittedly TSMC has some fabs outside of Taiwan, but none of them are cutting edge and some of them are even in China...
It's not likely to happen tomorrow, but Emperor Xi has said that he will re-unite Taiwan with China so the threat is very real.
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#11
dj-electric
This is where governments of the west should start waking the @$@# up. Quickly.
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#12
Xex360
How the hell did Intel mess up so much, they were ahead of everyone, they had plenty of money, they bribed companies to maintain their market share.
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#13
Post Nut Clairvoyance
Vya Domus
But I thought "10nm is progressing nicely" ?
no, you don't understand, 10nm has been progressing nicely, 10nm is progressing nicely, and 10nm will always, always be progressing nicely
this and 14nm(+^n)
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#14
yeeeeman
Highly doubt Intel will make i3 CPUs at TSMC 5nm in 2021...
This news looks more like a stock influencing one, TBH.
And 3nm in 2022/2023? Kidding, right?

As far as I know, Intel will have 6nm chipsets with Alder Lake. But 5nm TSMC i3 cpus...sounds a bit far fetched.
If this is true, then the management of Intel has really really screwed it up, if they are going to the way of shutting down their fabs.
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#15
RandallFlagg
For some perspective... the only thing that would be "new" here would be using an outside fab for a CPU. And that part of this is highly dubious.

Here is a blast from the past. Intel has used outside fabs for non-CPU parts many times in the past.

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#16
RH92
Easo
I am honestly worried about this. TSMC right now is quite important to the world as whole, yet it looks like it is only a matter of time until China comes calling (I know I know, it is debatable, blah blah).
What then? Price hikes would be the least of worries.
If i were you i would be more worried about US/NSA calling Intel to put backdoors in their processors instead ..... i know i know it's trendy to blame China for everything nowadays but come on !

Oddly you seem to be worried about things that have no direct impact to your life but other things that do have direct impact don't seem to bother you at all , GO FIGURE ...............
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#17
Easo
RH92
If i were you i would be more worried about US/NSA calling Intel to put backdoors in their processors instead ..... i know i know it's trendy to blame China for everything nowadays but come on !

Oddly you seem to be worried about things that have no direct impact to your life but other things that do have direct impact don't seem to bother you at all , GO FIGURE ...............
I find such comments fascinating. How can one miss the mark and my whole point so much is truly amazing.
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#18
RH92
Easo
I find such comments fascinating. How can one miss the mark and my whole point so much is truly amazing.
What is fascinating is that you persist believing you have a point ........
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#19
Easo
RH92
What is fascinating is that you persist believing you have a point ........
Yes I do.
TSMC is de facto primary fab in the world and controls more than half of market share. They probably have the most experience and technical know-how in the world, possibly only Samsung can be compare at all.
The relations between PRC and Taiwan have been deteriorating for years now, the military buildup is quite onesided (for obvious reasons, I hope) and increasingly accelerating by PRC. There is more and more agressive rhetoric coming from Beijing about "finally solving the question" of the island. USA, the main supporter of Taiwan, is sinking in internal issues and it is questionable how much actual military support they would provide, considering that even standard weapon sales are mirred in political controversy each time. It is likely that the times of demonstrative sailing by carrier battlegroups through the strait as was done during Third Taiwan Strait Crisis are over.

Invasion by China would literally destroy the CPU (and other component) market, drive prices somewhere halfway between Earth and Sun and potentially give China control over said market (if Taiwan does not destroy factories, in which case bye bye new CPUs for years (literally)). There are far from enough fabs outside Taiwan to offset this and new ones are built slowly and sparingly.
Not to mention the whole nasty business that is war...

Oh yes I do have a point. Does your "USA bad, NSA is spying on us all, it is all propaganda about China" thropes have a point? Well, others can decide that, but I do not think so.
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#20
NeuralNexus
Xex360
How the hell did Intel mess up so much, they were ahead of everyone, they had plenty of money, they bribed companies to maintain their market share.
Because INTEL is full of greedy executive not innovator engineers. They wanted more money and didn't care about milking the industry with their half-baked solutions.
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#21
dicktracy
At equivalent process node, AMD cannot compete. How long did it take for AMD to finally dethrone Skylake? F for AMD.
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#22
RandallFlagg
NeuralNexus
Because INTEL is full of greedy executive not innovator engineers. They wanted more money and didn't care about milking the industry with their half-baked solutions.
Most companies are full of greedy execs.

In point of fact, they have a legal fiduciary responsibility to maximize shareholder value. If you think Samsung, AMD, TSMC, etc etc are any different you are misguided.

The problem with Intel is that they were short-sighted, and in the end that led to a failure to maximize shareholder value. That resulted in the ouster of the old CEO and eventually several VPs over technology areas.

As far as AMD goes, they are not the ones that are beating Intel. TSMC is doing that. There is a big distinction there.

I pointed out at one time it would be interesting if Intel simply sucked up a big chunk of TSMCs capacity. AMD does not own fabs or process tech. Intel can outbid them, as can Apple and Qualcomm. Intel can also outproduce TSMC, who is not dedicated to AMD.

It sounds like ever increasing pricing pressure on AMD's ability to have someone fab their products is going to be real.

I also pointed out that Nvidia going with Samsung was genius. A lot of people laughed at that, because Samsung 8nm is inferior to TSMC 7nm.

Well, they're not laughing now. Nvidia is in a great spot with Samsung, who has tremendous production capacity with the capital, manpower, and skill to bring much more online. AMD, not so much, just a lot of paper launches and no production capacity.
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#23
john_
The Empire Strikes Back.

Intel could also throw the towel on it's manufacturing process and just pay a boatload of money to TSMC to license future techs. The capacity in Intel's fabs can warranty high volume for Intel itself, while TSMC will be making a nice income without having to see it's customers fighting for wafers or having to rush to build more fabs.

This is the first time in the last 3-4 years that I really worry about AMD's future.
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#24
windwhirl
Maybe, but there are contracts in place. It won't be as easy as some picture it.
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#25
RH92
Easo
Yes I do.

Invasion by China would literally destroy the CPU (and other component) market, drive prices somewhere halfway between Earth and Sun and potentially give China control over said market (if Taiwan does not destroy factories, in which case bye bye new CPUs for years (literally)). There are far from enough fabs outside Taiwan to offset this and new ones are built slowly and sparingly.
Not to mention the whole nasty business that is war...
Let me correct this for you .... YOU THINK you do .... but you factually don't !

See this is the trully fascinating part with you or so to say peoples like you , this persistence to believe into distorted realities while on the same breath rejecting the only and one factual reality . Let's enter into your distorted reality and asume that indeed China does invades Taiwan , please tell me now : What in this world makes you think that it's in Chinas interest to change anything to how current Taiwanese governance does business with the rest of the world ? It's not like mainlad China is already the biggest supplier of this world and does already business with the rest of the world in perfectly fine and respectable terms .... right ... RIGHT ????

Do you even sense how delusional and out of touch with reality your perception of the world is ? Of course you don't , otherwise you wouldn't be here making this ludicrous arguments !
Easo
Oh yes I do have a point. Does your "USA bad, NSA is spying on us all, it is all propaganda about China" thropes have a point? Well, others can decide that, but I do not think so.
Did that guy just called factual events such as NSA spying on the entire world and forcing American tech companies to implement backdoors in their products , ... '' thropes '' .... :roll::roll::roll: right you heard it here folks , NSA spying is just fake news . This last sentence of yours put's the final nail on this argument coffin , i can't argue with peoples who reject facts !
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