Intel CEO, Bob Swan has said that the company isn’t giving up on its Foundry business just yet. Talking at the Credit Suisse Conference, Swan explained that Intel has some notable progress in ramping up the yields of its 10nm node and the introduction of the SuperFin technology which it claims offers a full node advantage compared to the 10nm+ process.
It’s important to keep in mind that Intel’s 10nm is closer to TSMC’s 7nm process in terms of performance and efficiency, and the former’s upcoming 7nm process is likely to compete with the latter’s 5nm EUV node.
The Intel CEO reiterated the company’s roadmap, with the Ice Lake-SP (10nm+) processors slated for launch in Q1 2021, followed by Sapphire Rapids parts (10nm Enhanced SuperFin) in the last quarter of 2021. The Alder Lake-S desktop CPUs (10nm SuperFin) are also expected to land in the same year with a hybrid core architecture.
As far as the 7nm Granite Rapids lineup is concerned, Intel is aiming for a 2023 launch, quite a delay considering that TSMC’s 5nm EUV chips are already in mass production, with AMD expected to take full advantage of the same in 2022.
Meanwhile, TSMC also inaugurated its first 3nm factory in Nanke, Taiwan on the 24th of November, with risk production for the same slated to begin in 2021. TSMC is starting the mass production of its 3nm wafers in the second half of 2022. Even Samsung has announced that it’ll be mass producing its 3nm chips with the GAA technology in 2022.
This leaves Intel in a rather precarious situation in the Foundry business, offering the competitor to TSMC’s preset chips some three years from now.
At the same time though, Swan explained that Team Blue will be more open-minded with regard to outsourcing in the coming years. I wouldn’t be surprised if the chipmaker outsources even its core processor lineups to comply with roadmap execution. Some analysts expect Intel to outsource as much as 80% of its chip designs by 2026.