Weekly news roundup: Intel CEO confirms TSMC partnership for 3nm processors

Jerry Chen, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Credit: Intel

These are the most-read DIGITIMES Asia stories in the week of February 19 - February 23

Intel confirms 3nm chip orders placed with TSMC

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger has confirmed for the first time that two of the company's upcoming processors will be made using TSMC's 3nm processes. Gelsinger revealed this during the Intel Foundry Direct Connect event in response to a press inquiry about the company's collaboration with TSMC. The CEO remarked that Intel's partnership with TSMC has advanced from 5nm to 3nm processes, which will be employed to make the CPU tiles of Arrow Lake and Lunar Lake.

Pressures mount for Taiwan-based suppliers as they relocate production to Vietnam and Mexico

Geopolitical concerns have led manufacturers to seek production outside traditional bases in China, with many companies flocking to invest in facilities in neighboring Vietnam or Mexico as a gateway to North America. However, as suppliers relocate production to meet their customers' demands, they have increasingly faced shortages in labor and power supply, and pressure has been mounting both for local authorities in these new production hubs and for manufacturers seeking to invest in new facilities.

US reportedly suspends permission for materials shipping to SMIC

Amidst Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation's (SMIC) growing capacity to produce advanced chips despite sanctions from the US, a report indicates that the US government has intensified pressure by halting the shipment of specialty materials to SMIC. Reuters, citing three unnamed sources, reported that towards the end of last year, the US Commerce Department sent numerous letters to US suppliers of SMIC, halting permission to sell to SMIC's most advanced plant, SMIC South.

Samsung reportedly wins first 2nm order in the most advanced chip-making race

The most advanced chip manufacturing process competition has already begun before mass production. Samsung Electronics reportedly secured a 2nm AI chip order from Japan-based startup Preferred Networks (PFN), possibly the first customer of Samsung's 2nm node other than Samsung. The Korea Economic Daily quoted sources saying that PFN had placed orders with Samsung to make AI chips based on 2nm technology. Sources said PFN, TSMC's customer since 2016, has switched its partner in favor of Samsung.

US will not choke China's access to mature process chips

A US Department of Commerce official said Washington will not limit China's access to mature process chips. Responding to accusations that the US is pressuring and bullying Chinese companies under the pretext of national security, Thea D. Rozman Kendler, Assistant Secretary for Export Administration at the US Department of Commerce, said export controls on Chinese chip exports are limited to products using advanced process technology and have no intention of controlling chips using traditional mature processes, she added.

Intel is grabbing Samsung's cheese with system-level foundry

Samsung beware: As Intel Foundry (IF) is now collaborating with TSMC to accomplish an advanced packaging mission to meet customer's needs, it is aiming for something bigger. According to market sources, Intel started supplying 5,000 units of Foveros wafers to TSMC in late January. This implies that Intel has successfully entered the Nvidia supply chain. Not only that, in Intel's IF Direct Connect event, Microsoft announced it would build its customized Maia 100 AI chips with Intel's A18 process.

Intel rising: Intel squares up to TSMC, underestimates Samsung

Intel will hold its first Wafer Fabrication Services Conference (IFS Direct Connect 2024) in San Jose, California, on February 21. Intel's CEO Pat Gelsinger has already revealed that US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo will attend. The move will highlight Intel's important role in semiconductor manufacturing in the United States. Ahead of the conference, SiliconANGLE invited Ben Bajarin, CEO of Creative Strategies, to analyze the likelihood of success for Intel's wafer fabrication strategy.