The 3nm process will have a density 1.7 times greater than 5nm, offering better performance and energy efficiency. However, TSMC has faced some complications as it passed the risk production phase. TSMC is said to start mass producing these chips sometime in the second half of 2022, meaning the company is a few months behind in its manufacturing process. CC Wei, CEO of TSMC, attributes this to the complex nature of the technology and the specific requirements of each of the different customers. This means that Intel will also experience a slight delay until it has its own advanced semiconductor factories up and running.
Rumors suggest that Intel will not use 3 million chips for its Alder Lake and Raptor Lake line of processors in the consumer market. Rather, the TSMC order will be used to produce an advanced GPU model, possibly for graphics cards and server applications.
Intel asks TSMC for some help, for now
While Intel plans to eventually have its own production facilities to make chips of similar performance, it appears that it will use TSMC to bring advanced products like GPUs to the market. Whether or not Intel will meet its own goals to improve compute nodes in the coming years remains to be seen, but the company appears to be confident at this point in time.
Intel’s purchase of most of the 3nm chips could negatively affect Apple and AMD’s abilities to secure the new technology for manufacturing in the future. However, TSMC plans to aggressively expand its operations to meet the high demands of its clients, which should help. Of course, this is just hearsay at this point, so take Intel’s big order for 3nm TSMC nodes with a pinch of salt for now.