According to industry rumors out of Taiwan, Intel is considering outsourcing the production of its 14th Gen Meteor Lake processors to TSMC. Initially designed for the Intel 4 node, a report from DigiTimes suggests that these chips might be fabbed on the N5 process instead. The reason behind this is, as expected, can be attributed to lower-than-required yields and/or a delay in volume production.
Meteor Lake represents Intel’s first disaggregated (chiplet or tiled) design with at least three separate dies, one for the CPU cores, one for the iGPU, and the third one for the I/O. The graphics die was set to be outsourced to TSMC’s 3nm process from the very beginning, but the compute die was supposed to be an Intel 4 product.
It’s hard to say whether DigiTimes’ report is legit as the outlet has repeatedly exaggerated TSMC’s capabilities. Meteor Lake was powered on for the first time in Intel’s labs a few days back which puts further shade on this story. All in all, I believe that Intel might have considered using TSMC’s 5nm process for Meteor Lake at some point, but eventually decided to use its own 4nm node for better or worse. Either way, we’ll know for sure soon.