Intel plans to source chip subcomponents from outside factories, details on TSMC partnerships

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Intel on Thursday announced new details of its turnaround strategy to source subcomponents of its chips from outside factories, including new details of partnerships with rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).

Intel is one of the few remaining semiconductor companies that still designs and manufactures its own chips. But it lost its lead in making the fastest chips to TSMC, which focuses on making designs from outside companies, after missteps in its manufacturing operations.

Intel Chief Executive Pat Gelsinger outlined the company’s strategy to get back into manufacturing by 2025 at the beginning of the year. In the meantime, however, Intel is trying to prevent further erosion of its chip market share from competitors like Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Nvidia, which have faster offerings.

Part of Intel’s answer is to tap into competitors like TSMC for sub-components of chips called “tiles” and then use packaging technology to assemble them in Intel’s own factories. Intel said Thursday that its new “Ponte Vecchio” chip will use key tiles made with TMSC’s “N5” and “N7” chip manufacturing technologies, which will be placed on a base manufactured by Intel.

The first major use of the “Ponte Vecchio” chip will be in a supercomputer that Intel is building for the US Department of Energy.

Raja Koduri, senior vice president of Intel’s Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics Group, admitted that Intel Nvidia has been accelerating artificial intelligence software for years, a market that has driven much of the chip industry’s expansion in recent years. has challenged.

Koduri said the “Ponte Vecchio” chip is faster than Nvidia’s offerings for some of these tasks.

“We just gave them a free hand for a decade,” said Koduri. “It’s over now.”

Intel also renamed its graphics chips earlier this week, which will challenge Nvidia’s other big video game market.

Intel announced Thursday that its “Alchemist” graphics chips are manufactured by TSMC using the newly named “N6” chip manufacturing technology, an updated version of its “N7” technology. Reuters reported in January that Intel would use TSMC’s updated technology.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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