Intel Eager to Avoid Clashes With Apple As It Looks to Secure TSMC's 3nm Chip Supply

Intel is looking to develop a closer relationship with TSMC, Apple's largest and most important chip supplier, to avoid possible clashes with the Cupertino tech giant over TSMC's 3nm chip production, according to DigiTimes.

3nm apple silicon feature
Yesterday, we reported on TSMC beginning pilot production of its ‌3nm‌ process that will eventually be used in future Apple silicon Macs. Apple currently uses a 5nm process in its latest iPhones, Macs, and iPads.

Ahead of Apple's adoption of the smaller chip process in its products, Intel is now trying to establish a clear relationship with TSMC to ensure the Taiwan supplier will fulfill its orders for a rumored upcoming ‌3nm‌ GPU, without conflicting with Apple's orders.

‌DigiTimes‌ reports today that high-level executives from Intel plan to visit Taiwan and TSMC in mid-December to discuss ‌3nm‌ chip production and production capacity. The report says that during their meeting, Intel will be "striving for more available ‌3nm‌ process capacity at TSMC" and that "Intel is eyeing a closer tie with TSMC to avoid fighting with Apple for the available process capacity."

A report last month said that Intel would be looking to adopt TSMC's ‌3nm‌ process for its upcoming Meteor Lake processors. Intel currently doesn't utilize any smaller processes, and handing off the job to a third-party, such as TSMC, is a way Intel can possibly catch up to Apple.

Apple is undertaking a two-year-long transition that will phase out Intel chips in its Mac lineup in favor of Apple silicon. The transition officially began in November 2020 with the M1 chip in the 13-inch MacBook Air, Mac mini, and MacBook Pro. Apple furthered its transition this year with the 24-inch iMac, followed more recently by the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros.

The 27-inch ‌iMac‌, the Mac Pro, and a high-end ‌Mac mini‌ remain the only Intel-based Macs in the lineup. Apple has described Intel's chips as "power-hungry processors" and has credited the efficiency and size of Apple silicon for some more radical Mac design changes, such as those seen in the most recent ‌iMac‌.

Top Rated Comments

Imperial926 Avatar
29 months ago
If they want a good relationship maybe they should halt the crass adverts.
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rukia Avatar
29 months ago
Apple isn't just another customer like AMD but a critical partner. Apple consumes over 25% of all TSMC's output and virtually all of their leading edge process node from risk starts to early ramp. The latter point is critical as TSMC wouldn't be where they are today without Apple and neither would the rest of the fabless semiconductor industry. Moving a leading edge process node into volume production is very difficult and extremely expensive. This is why companies like AMD are not the first mover on this and prefer to be a node behind. You need a company that can move a very large number of units with high margin, is very well capitalized, and has deep experience and skills to leverage the most advanced nodes. There isn't another company on the planet that can move more units, with sufficient margin, than Apple and meets the other requirements above. Without Apple TSMC's leading edge process nodes would roll out a lot slower than they have in the past. Apple has been critical in making TSMC what it is today which has the trickle down effect of allowing companies like AMD to benefit from the rapid development of advanced nodes. TSMC would never do anything to damage this close relationship as it would be detrimental to their own health.
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
throAU Avatar
29 months ago
But I thought Intel were a process leading foundry now with intel 7 and the angstrom stuff

/s


also intel, as a company...



Attachment Image
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rukia Avatar
29 months ago
We'll know if Intel is really courting TSMC when they start running cringe ads attacking them.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jjdodders Avatar
29 months ago
“Intel keen to avoid clash with Apple”

Also

“Intel trying to steal Apple’s supplier”
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BootsWalking Avatar
29 months ago
Photo of Intel meeting with TSMC:

Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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