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Discussion Intel leading customer for TSMC 3nm?

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Zucker2k

Golden Member
Feb 15, 2006
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Gelsinger revealed that there is coming at least two different designs from TSMC - for client and server platforms. And as leading edge process building is slow and expensive that more than Apple gets from TSMC isn't still nowhere as much as Intel can product cpu's at it's own foundries. So there's nothing conflicting with that information.
To be fair, there was news in the forums around the time Zen 2 refresh was released, iirc, that Intel will be producing some high end server and Core i3 processors on one of TSMCs leading nodes.
 

Hitman928

Diamond Member
Apr 15, 2012
3,686
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Gelsinger revealed that there is coming at least two different designs from TSMC - for client and server platforms. And as leading edge process building is slow and expensive that more than Apple gets from TSMC isn't still nowhere as much as Intel can product cpu's at it's own foundries. So there's nothing conflicting with that information.
Here is the quote just so everyone at least knows what he said:

Both Meteor Lake and Granite Rapids will have compute tiles built on Intel 7nm. And the strength of our new IDM 2.0 model (integrated device manufacturing) means we can strategically use the breadth of our ecosystem to our advantage. For the 2023 roadmap we will also leverage our relationship with TSMC to deliver additional leadership CPU products for our client and data center customers. This is the power of our new IDM 2.0 model combined with a modular approach to design and Intel’s industry leading packaging technologies.
 
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Hitman928

Diamond Member
Apr 15, 2012
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I have no idea what "other leadership CPU products" are but it seems like it's not Meteor Lake or Granite Rapids ported over based upon that quote. So a new architecture they haven't revealed yet that could theoretically outdo their announced chips on Intel's own process? Or maybe an older architecture tweaked and ported from 10 nm to TSMC 7nm or 5 nm for volume help? It's a pretty ambiguous quote which is why people didn't pay too much attention to it. I have my doubts that Intel will be on 3 nm in 2023 with the type of volume this rumor is indicating but we'll see.
 

jpiniero

Lifer
Oct 1, 2010
10,130
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I have no idea what "other leadership CPU products" are but it seems like it's not Meteor Lake or Granite Rapids ported over based upon that quote. So a new architecture they haven't revealed yet that could theoretically outdo their announced chips on Intel's own process? Or maybe an older architecture tweaked and ported from 10 nm to TSMC 7nm or 5 nm for volume help? It's a pretty ambiguous quote which is why people didn't pay too much attention to it. I have my doubts that Intel will be on 3 nm in 2023 with the type of volume this rumor is indicating but we'll see.
Option 1 is Raptor Lake and Emerald Rapids (seems unlikely)

Option 2 is that it is also Meteor Lake and Granite Rapids, and it's dual sourced. The 7 nm product is just a token amount.
 

naukkis

Senior member
Jun 5, 2002
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They have done no such thing. Intel 7nm and TSMC 3nm are within spitting distance of each other (spec wise).

It is likely that TSMC will be used for either GPUs and possibly some portion of the CPU business. It has already been discussed that Intel has a limited number of EUV machines. They will likely rely on TSMC until they can ramp up.
That's the problem. If Intel has any faith on their own 7nm they would not go to fund TSMC 3nm. After TSMC builds 3nm capacity Intel has to use it, or TSMC will sell that capacity to Intel's rivals making Intel's own 7nm products compromised.

Globalfoundries drop off from leadind edge race when AMD went to TSMC, and Intel will drop from leading edge race when their leading edge products will go to TSMC. Which is right now.
 

Hitman928

Diamond Member
Apr 15, 2012
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Option 1 is Raptor Lake and Emerald Rapids (seems unlikely)

Option 2 is that it is also Meteor Lake and Granite Rapids, and it's dual sourced. The 7 nm product is just a token amount.
The problem with Option 2, is that if the quote is read at face value, it eliminates this option as he mentions MTL and GR and then says TSMC will produce "other" CPU products at TSMC. It could be a smoke screen for dual sourcing, but a straight read of the quote eliminates that possibility. There's also a significant difference in node characteristics between the two which would make dual sourcing a bit troublesome unless they just put the lower end SKUs on 7 nm or something.
 

jpiniero

Lifer
Oct 1, 2010
10,130
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The problem with Option 2, is that if the quote is read at face value, it eliminates this option as he mentions MTL and GR and then says TSMC will produce "other" CPU products at TSMC. It could be a smoke screen for dual sourcing, but a straight read of the quote eliminates that possibility. There's also a significant difference in node characteristics between the two which would make dual sourcing a bit troublesome unless they just put the lower end SKUs on 7 nm or something.
I suppose the other option would be that they are different designs but released at the same time. Something like Comet and Ice.
 

lobz

Golden Member
Feb 10, 2017
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Option 1 is Raptor Lake and Emerald Rapids (seems unlikely)

Option 2 is that it is also Meteor Lake and Granite Rapids, and it's dual sourced. The 7 nm product is just a token amount.
That would go against TSMC's own rule of no double sourcing. Or... what am I missing?
 

clemsyn

Senior member
Aug 21, 2005
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maddie

Diamond Member
Jul 18, 2010
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Would TSMC secretly do a deal with Intel that effectively sabotages all of their present premium customers?

If this is true, then I'm fairly certain that Samsung has now become more relevant in the medium term as no one can trust TSMC to build long term relationships anymore. There is no way these customers will allow TSMC to be the sole leading edge source forever. If Apple, especially, had to change plans, I expect them to be very angry.

Anyhow, I'm going with DisEnchantment here. A stock manipulation scheme assuming of course that the author is not simply incompetent.
 

Hitman928

Diamond Member
Apr 15, 2012
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LOL y'all need your gullibility radars recalibrated.

Instant proof of BS with this line



Why the ipad qualifier? Because the source has no clue.
The iPad qualifier is given because, according to the source, that is the only chip Apple will be producing on 3 nm at the time Intel starts producing the two mentioned products. Not saying I believe the source, but that's the reasoning given.
 
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gdansk

Senior member
Feb 8, 2011
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If they treat one customer, Intel, worse than other customers then it is more incentive for the US and EU governments to intervene to try to build their own competitors to avoid this unequal treatment.

I wouldn't be surprised if Intel would be sold some 3nm production.
I would be surprised if it is used to make CPUs targeting anything but laptops.
 

Gideon

Golden Member
Nov 27, 2007
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The iPad qualifier is given because, according to the source, that is the only chip Apple will be producing on 3 nm at the time Intel starts producing the two mentioned products. Not saying I believe the source, but that's the reasoning given.
But apple has never cared about ipad as the leading product. Ipads have been rather token amount compared to iphones which have always been the first to a node.
 
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JasonLD

Senior member
Aug 22, 2017
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But apple has never cared about ipad as the leading product. Ipads have been rather token amount compared to iphones which have always been the first to a node.
Apple did announce A14 with 4th Generation iPad Air first before iPhone 12.
 

dmens

Platinum Member
Mar 18, 2005
2,239
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If this were true (and I doubt it), the most amusing consequence is that the superiority of TSMC 3nm over anything Intel has in development will be so obvious that it will render Intel’s multi-process design efforts completely pointless. Intel process will be relegated to non-performance critical components and their margins will go down the gutter as a result.

Essentially they would be paying TSMC a boatload of money to commit suicide faster.

Also it would be hilarious to see Intel designs on the latest process fail to achieve a decisive performance advantage over AMD, so we can finally bury that lame excuse once and for all.
 

moinmoin

Platinum Member
Jun 1, 2017
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Other than that, the wccf article states "Nikkei's sources also believe that the overall chip volume TSMC has dedicated to Intel is higher than that dedicated to Apple, resulting in the smartphone maker delaying adopting the 3nm process for its next year's smartphone upgrade." - which sounds really counter-intuitive for me.
Yeah, not gonna happen in this dimension. The only way Intel would get more capacity than longstanding existing customers is by having Intel take up the full financial burden of this capacity increase, leaving existing customers unaffected. That'd be the win-win case for TSMC. But reducing capacity for Apple to the point they'd have to delay adoption? The Apple that essentially enforces the timing of the node cadence TSMC offers? Laughable.

TSMC did say they wouldn't go out of their way to build capacity specifically for Intel.
Even if Intel shoulders all the cost (which on its own is equally unlikely)?
 

JasonLD

Senior member
Aug 22, 2017
356
321
136
Would TSMC secretly do a deal with Intel that effectively sabotages all of their present premium customers?

If this is true, then I'm fairly certain that Samsung has now become more relevant in the medium term as no one can trust TSMC to build long term relationships anymore. There is no way these customers will allow TSMC to be the sole leading edge source forever. If Apple, especially, had to change plans, I expect them to be very angry.

Anyhow, I'm going with DisEnchantment here. A stock manipulation scheme assuming of course that the author is not simply incompetent.
Even if Intel's deal ends up being true, why would it be sabotaging AMD when AMD most likely doesn't have any plans on using TSMC's 3nm in 2023.
 

samboy

Senior member
Aug 17, 2002
210
57
101
This is a good strategy from Intel....... reserve all the 3nm TSMC capacity and just sit on it to eliminate/hinder the Apple and AMD competition. They have a big war chest and now is the time to use it.

Hopefully they also decide to make something.
 

jpiniero

Lifer
Oct 1, 2010
10,130
2,379
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I should point out that 3 nm ramping H2 22 is far too late for the 22 iPhone. Wafer availability wouldn't change that. The timing might work better for an iPad product released in 1H 23.

Apple usually has TSMC start in like February or March for instance.
 
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dmens

Platinum Member
Mar 18, 2005
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This is a good strategy from Intel....... reserve all the 3nm TSMC capacity and just sit on it to eliminate/hinder the Apple and AMD competition. They have a big war chest and now is the time to use it.

Hopefully they also decide to make something.
LOL. Last time I checked Apple had almost 10x Intel market cap.
 
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Hitman928

Diamond Member
Apr 15, 2012
3,686
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This is a good strategy from Intel....... reserve all the 3nm TSMC capacity and just sit on it to eliminate/hinder the Apple and AMD competition. They have a big war chest and now is the time to use it.

Hopefully they also decide to make something.
Apple's war chest is much much bigger than Intel's. Additionally, it is extremely unlikely that TSMC would allow Intel to reserve so much capacity as to block long time customers without a long term purchasing agreement from Intel which would very quickly drain that war chest and/or pull money from Intel's own R&D efforts effectively killing Intel's foundry future.
 

Failnaught

Member
Aug 4, 2008
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It would make sense if Intel has low confidence in its fab capabilities beyond 10nm, and they are trying to get out of the leading edge fab business, like GlobalFoundries. If true then this would completely reshape the company.

If they can buy the secret sauce from TSMC and successfully implement it with their equipment and people, then they will have a hit. But why would TSMC do this? Is Intel thinking to completely switch over to TSMC for all logic chips? That would imply Intel Foundry would be a > 7nm node fab.
 

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