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Intel CEO visiting Taiwan in August to discuss 3nm orders with TSMC

Piefkee

New member

Translated by RetiredEngineer @ https://twitter.com/chiakokhua

Main story:

1. Internally, Intel has initiated "emergency correction" of it's "platform blueprint’ and "own
process production capacity plans" for the next 1 year. It is widely rumored that CEO Pat
Gelsinger plans to visit Taiwan for the third time in August to meet with TSMC Chairman Mark
Liu and CEO C.C. Wei to discuss these revised plans.

2. Intel's 14th-gen Meteor Lake, originally planned to enter mass production at the end of 2022
for launch in 1H'2023, has been delayed to end of 2023. Since Meteor Lake's GPU tile is
outsourced to TSMC, this delay will disrupt TSMC's 3nm plans.

3. According to industry sources, Intel will pay a heavy price if Meteor Lake suffers a delay.
Intel and TSMC had already signed an outsourcing agreement elevating Intel to "heavenly
king" customer status. Earlier, there were rumors that TSMC, upon confirming receipt of Intel's
huge order, and in order to segregate from Apple, proceeded to convert what was originally
planned as an R&D Center and mini-line (P8~P9, at Baoshan Fab12 gigafab expansion phase)
into a second 3nm production site. Contractually, TMC would have been on schedule to
produce the 3nm GPU tile. However, if Intel's own Intel 4 compute tile is not ready for
production due to "market conditions" and process technical problems, and Intel wishes TSMC
to also delay production, then Intel will have to absorb all losses incurred.

4. But, there are also rumors that Intel is being forced to come up with another plan, which is to
proceed with production of the 3nm GPU tile as originally planned, and re-target/outsource
the compute tile to IMC 5nm or even 3nm. This may cause Intel to "lose face" but will allow
Intel to "temporarily catch its breath" and save costs.



Point 4 is very unlikely, but the delay on the Meteor-Lake is something that was discussed currently at the hardware leakers.
 
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Daniel Nenni

Admin
Staff member
3. According to industry sources, Intel will pay a heavy price if Meteor Lake suffers a delay.
Intel and TSMC had already signed an outsourcing agreement elevating Intel to "heavenly
king" customer status.


This is not true. Intel will play queen to King Apple. Being TSMCs second largest customer is not bad though but remember, Intel should go back to Intel proper for GAA and beyond so they will not be queen forever. Intel is planning on build a LOT of fab space in the next 5 years and that does not go well if they are still TSMCs #2 customer, absolutely.

Exciting times in the ecosystem!
 

fansink

Active member
3. According to industry sources, Intel will pay a heavy price if Meteor Lake suffers a delay.
Intel and TSMC had already signed an outsourcing agreement elevating Intel to "heavenly
king" customer status.


This is not true. Intel will play queen to King Apple. Being TSMCs second largest customer is not bad though but remember, Intel should go back to Intel proper for GAA and beyond so they will not be queen forever. Intel is planning on build a LOT of fab space in the next 5 years and that does not go well if they are still TSMCs #2 customer, absolutely.

Exciting times in the ecosystem!

Can you please clarify.

Are you stating that if Intel causes a production gap at TSMC that Intel will not be financially responsible, or are you saying that such production gap will be filled by others, negating Intel’s financial responsibility, or something else?

Ultimately, how do you think this Intel delay effects TSMC financially, in the short term and long term?
 

Daniel Nenni

Admin
Staff member
Can you please clarify.

Are you stating that if Intel causes a production gap at TSMC that Intel will not be financially responsible, or are you saying that such production gap will be filled by others, negating Intel’s financial responsibility, or something else?

Ultimately, how do you think this Intel delay effects TSMC financially, in the short term and long term?

My point is that Intel will be TSMC's #2 customer not #1. And after N3 Intel may not even be #2. I don't have first hand knowledge of the contract Intel signed with TSMC but from what I hear Intel will be paying for the capacity guarantee with or without wafers.

Right now TSMC N3 is for Apple and other SoC companies. When N3E, N3P, and N3X hit I do not see extra capacity going to waste. TSMC owns this node. And remember, Intel is making tiles/chiplets not full chips like the rest of the TSMC customers, AMD excluded. The HPC customers will eat up N3 wafers like there is no tomorrow, absolutely.
 

fansink

Active member
My point is that Intel will be TSMC's #2 customer not #1. And after N3 Intel may not even be #2. I don't have first hand knowledge of the contract Intel signed with TSMC but from what I hear Intel will be paying for the capacity guarantee with or without wafers.

Right now TSMC N3 is for Apple and other SoC companies. When N3E, N3P, and N3X hit I do not see extra capacity going to waste. TSMC owns this node. And remember, Intel is making tiles/chiplets not full chips like the rest of the TSMC customers, AMD excluded. The HPC customers will eat up N3 wafers like there is no tomorrow, absolutely.

Thank you for that clarification.

I understood that Meteor Lake was supposed to be released by Intel around 1-2Q23, and that TSMC would be providing the 3nm GPU and 4nm SoC LP tiles, while Intel was to supply the 4nm CPU tile.

If that were true, TSMC would need to start fabricating those tiles in 4Q22.

Are you saying that some or all of my understanding is not true?
 

Fred Chen

Moderator
I understood that Meteor Lake was supposed to be released by Intel around 1-2Q23, and that TSMC would be providing the 3nm GPU and 4nm SoC LP tiles, while Intel was to supply the 4nm CPU tile.

If that were true, TSMC would need to start fabricating those tiles in 4Q22.
Intel's Fab 34 will only go online in 2023, so Meteor Lake would definitely be toward the end of the year. If Intel receives the graphics tiles earlier, would that be an issue?
 

Dougwithau

New member
Intel's Fab 34 will only go online in 2023, so Meteor Lake would definitely be toward the end of the year. If Intel receives the graphics tiles earlier, would that be an issue?

Can they sit on inventory for a year, unpackaged and only wafer level tested? Assuming they have enough of the core parts to fully test the graphics core, and the wafers are known good. An ugly issue would make the inventory a write off. Risky.
The financials are not great, so they would not want another red mark in the accounting ledger.
 

fansink

Active member
It seems like the best solution may be to have TSMC just make all the parts, since they are making everything else but the CPU tile, then Intel could release Meteor Lake closer to the original schedule, instead of a year later.
 

Daniel Nenni

Admin
Staff member
It's really weird. At this critical moment Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger thinks by poaching TSMC executives will strengthen his position in negotiating better terms with TSMC.
Or his left hand doesn't know what his right hand is doing? Thread 'Intel poaches TSMC Open Innovation Platform founder Suk Lee' https://semiwiki.com/forum/index.ph...en-innovation-platform-founder-suk-lee.16346/

I don't agree. TSMC and Intel have traded employees since the start of TSMC so I don't see it as an issue. In fact, TSMC building in AZ is a big poaching move. If Intel builds in Hsinchu now that would be something! IFS has hired people from Samsung, GF, and TSMC. It is how the semiconductor industry works. It is also critical for IFS to bring in outside talent and they are doing a great job, absolutely.
 

Xebec

Active member
Intel 13th Gen CPU will launch in the end of Aug or Sep (if not delayed). Impossible for 14th Gen coming in Q1 2023.
Agreed.

I am curious why a lot of sources are calling Meteor Lake delayed when regular cadence would indicate late 2023 anyway, and Intel never committed (that I'm aware of) to anything other than '2023-2024' per their roadmaps..

I get that there's definitely high risk of delays: Meteor Lake has a lot of cutting edge tech (packaging, TSMC N3, Intel 4).. but I don't see any proof there's a problem, yet.

Lastly, even if there is a delay it's important to see the reason. Raptor Lake might launch a month or two later than planned (August/Sept) but that may be due to a cooling demand in the channel and the need to offload 12th gen, rather than a manufacturing problem. If 14th gen is delayed it might be due to market and not technical reasons.
 

hist78

Well-known member
I don't agree. TSMC and Intel have traded employees since the start of TSMC so I don't see it as an issue. In fact, TSMC building in AZ is a big poaching move. If Intel builds in Hsinchu now that would be something! IFS has hired people from Samsung, GF, and TSMC. It is how the semiconductor industry works. It is also critical for IFS to bring in outside talent and they are doing a great job, absolutely.

Talented people moving around is good for the progress of the semiconductor industry.

But Suk Lee's hiring happened at a strange time. Did Pat Gelsinger forget he will have an important yet difficult trip to Taiwan next month to negotiate with TSMC on behalf of Intel?

The financial and business consequences are too big to ignore. Could Intel have delayed hiring Suk Lee for 30 days until Pat finishing his trip?
 
Last edited:

benb

Active member
Intel ARC (discrete graphics) is launched, basically on schedule, but only in China. There is a growing trend among electronics (smartphones and now graphics cards) to launch in China first, and other regions later or never. "Proximity to board components". https://community.intel.com/t5/Blog.../Gaming/Engineering-Arc-5-9-2022/post/1383055

With Both Ryzen 7000 and Raptor Lake CPUs coming this fall and worldwide launches seeming not to be a thing anymore, I would expect China this year, US in 2023. That's just how it is, with the global supply chain, not a read-through of Intel or AMD (or TSMC) execution. Thus, if that comes true and Meteor Lake is the same, we will see it in China in 2023 and US 2024.
 
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