According to a report from SemiAccurate, Intel is looking to sign an outsourcing deal with Samsung, most likely to manufacture chiplets for its future GPUs. Unlike the deal with TSMC which is expected to transfer the production of the Core i series class CPUs to TSMC’s advanced sub-7nm nodes, this particular agreement is over a more mature 10nm/14nm node.
If reports stating that TSMC is going to fabricate Intel’s Xe-HPG or DG2 GPUs are true, then this seems more of a backup plan in case the company is unable to meet the market demand. But that again makes you wonder. If the Xe gaming GPUs will leverage TSMC’s 7nm-class node, then why opt for an older, less efficient node from a different foundry?
Intel plans to order the production of 15K units per month via this outsourcing deal. We’re not sure whether this refers to wafers or chips, but the latter is more likely considering the nature of the silicon. The production is slated to start in the second half of 2021.
As for what will actually be fabbed, it could be the older 14nm Skylake-based CPUs while Intel’s own foundries shift to the newer 10nm and eventually the 7nm node. The other possibility is the production of GPU chiplets for Intel’s upcoming Xe family. Considering that the company has a wide range of products planned across different segments, it’s very possible that one particular family will be fabbed on Samsung’s 10nm/14nm node.
Intel is going to report its Q4 2020 earnings later today. It is during this event that the new CEO of the company will announce plans regarding outsourcing the production of future products to third-party fabs.