According to a report from TechNews Taiwan, Intel will be outsourcing its lower-end Core i3 processors to TSMC’s 5nm EUV process in 2022. This is a bit weird as it’d mean that the tape-out for the i3s would have to be optimized for TSMC’s manufacturing node, while the i5s and i7s would continue to use Intel’s own foundry.
It’s possible that Intel plans to leverage both TSMC and its own process nodes to fabricate the same lineup, but that will undoubtedly cause variations in performance and efficiency across the same models.
The only thing we know for sure is that Intel will be prioritizing the outsourcing of its Core i3 class processors which again is weird as yields should be better for lower-end parts and worse as the core count increases. It’s possible that the entire consumer lineup may be outsourced to allow for the fabrication of the server parts at Intel’s own foundries. This would make sense as that’s where the bulk of the revenue comes from.
As per the source, Intel will be outsourcing its mainstream desktop chips in 2022, meaning that we’re looking at the successor to Alder Lake-S, or in other words, the 13th Gen Core lineup. Alder Lake will be Intel’s first attempt to adopt a hybrid-core architecture, otherwise popularized as big.LITTLE by Arm in mobile SoCs.
If Intel is looking to outsource its desktop parts to TSMC’s 5nm node, it means that either its 7nm process is still facing yield issues or there’s simply no enough capacity to accommodate both the client and server parts. Last we heard, the 7nm parts had been delayed by roughly seven months to 2022, so this falls in line with that. TSMC’s 5nm is closer to Intel’s 7nm process, as its 7nm node was closer to Intel’s 10nm.