TSMC and Samsung Foundry will soon have to share their precinct with a major rival: Intel. Under the leadership of Pat Gelsinger, bombed CEO a few weeks ago, the American giant will also burn chips for third-party companies. An announcement that risks making a date.
Intel has been a founder for ages, but until now the firm was content to burn in its factories only its own chips and processors. Worse, the Californian giant has even been forced to appeal recently to the independent founder TSMC, leader of the sector, to partly relieve its production capacity. However, we are now learning that things will change… and in a radical way.
Intel announced on March 24 that it was putting on the table an initial investment of $ 20 billion for the construction of two new factories in Arizona (near Phoenix). They will subsequently be supplemented by two additional sites (one in the United States, the other in Europe), which we should hear from later this year.
This is the first step in a (very) ambitious plan for Intel: to open its foundries to the outside world by burning chips for other market players. As it stands, Google, Cisco, Qualcomm, but also Microsoft would be among Intel’s first customers, but the group’s initiative could eventually attract other big names like Nvidia, Tesla or even Apple and AMD. So many firms that are currently clients of TSMC and Samsung Foundry.
Intel wants to open up entirely to its future customers
This major strategic decision by Intel, should allow the group to create a new source of income, while overturning the established order in the semiconductor market. In its press release, Intel explains that it wants “ become a major supplier of foundry capabilities in the United States and Europe to serve customers around the world “. To do this, the firm will have to offer something other than its current 10 nm SuperFin engraving … and Pat Gelsinger, the new boss of Intel, knows it. The person concerned in particular assured that his new protocol in 7 nm EUV (code name “Meteor Lake”) would be ready this year. However, its generalization will not take place before 2022 or even 2023. To compete against TSMC and Samsung (which already offernodesmore advanced), Intel will therefore offer a little something extra.
And this “bonus” is in reality nothing trivial: Intel intends to offer its future customers most of its intellectual property and in particular its very promising System in a Package (SiP), explains 01Net. As a reminder, this concept (exploited by Foveros and EMIB technologies) allows different modules to be stacked to form heterogeneous chips, made up of disparate elements. It is this great principle, on which Intel has a clear lead over its competitors, which should (at least Pat Gelsinger hopes) allow the group to succeed. It is indeed very interesting to an industrial point of view.
For consumers too, Intel’s announcement should have beneficial effects. If the group’s objectives materialize, chip production capacity worldwide should increase significantly in the coming years. This would allow different market players to be less dependent on TSMC and Samsung. Overbooked, their factories are currently struggling to meet demand. With the entry of a third large cross-country skier in the game, the shortages currently encountered could become much rarer in the future.