According to a Bloomberg report, TSMC is preparing to offer Intel a notable chunk of its 4nm capacity in 2022 as the Santa Clara-based chipmaker prepares to outsource its flagship offerings for the first time in its 50 year history. The Taiwanese foundry is preparing to start a new foundry in Baoshan by the end of the year which will likely be dedicated to supplying Intel if all goes according to plan. This facility will include a research center with as many as 8,000 engineers with an aim to improve yields and research refinements existing processes.
However, any 4nm chips outsourced from TSMC won’t come to the market before 2023, as the volume production is expected to start in the last quarter of 2022, with the first stage of test production slated a year earlier with the 5nm EUV process. This is the same process on which Apple’s latest SoCs are based. Intel will be leveraging a refined variant of the same node two years from now which won’t exactly give it the edge everyone thinks it will.
By that time, AMD will likely already have (or will be prepping to) launched its Zen 5 based chips which will either use the 4nm or the even more advanced 3nm node. Apple, on the other hand, will have debuted the 2nm node thanks to the preferential treatment it gets from TSMC.
Intel CEO, Bob Swan has promised investors that he’ll lay out the company’s outsourcing plans at the next earnings report on the 21st of January. However, sources close to Bloomberg claim that the management at Intel has yet to arrive at a final decision with regard to this endeavor.