Intel Trying to Secure TSMC 3nm Without Riling up Apple

Amer Asia ReportIntel reportedly has a delicate situation on its hands. Although the chip-maker is humming right along with it its next-gen silicon at Fab 42, but there’s a teeny, tiny issue: It needs TSMC’s 3nm process for its Meteor Lake GPUs, but Apple is depending on TSMC’s to deliver all of its upcoming chips, which means all the SoCs for its future iPhone, MacBooks, iPads, and iMacs. That’s a lot of chips, and Intel supposedly sent reps to physically travel to TSMC in Taiwan this month, hat in hand. The crux of the issue, according to DigiTimes and MacRumors is this: Intel’s not-yet-launched, cutting-edge technology is currently a 7nm process, dubbed Intel 4. It’s what is running at Fab 42, where Intel is already producing early versions of Meteor Lake, which should debut in 2023. This next-gen CPU, which will be Intel’s 14th generation, is the first in the company’s history to feature a chiplet design as opposed to a monolithic die. That design has a compute core, a GPU core, and an SoC core (and possibly a fourth block too), and rumors are that Intel is planning on the GPU portion to be a 3nm part, care of TSMC. The only problem is Apple has already secured TSMC’s 3nm business, so according to Digitimes, during their meeting, Intel will be “striving for more available 3nm process capacity at TSMC” and that “Intel is eyeing a closer tie with TSMC to avoid fighting with Apple for the available process capacity.”

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