Intel looks to Samsung for chip making

January 12, 2021 // By Peter Clarke
Samsung included in Intel outsourcing talks
Samsung is in talks to manufacture chips for Intel say reports from South Korea.

Intel is reported to be in talks with competitor Samsung manufacture the latest chips on advanced 7nm adn 5nm process technology.

Intel CEO Bob Swan said back in July 2020 that the debut of his company's own 7nm manufacturing process has been delayed by a further six months due to yield issues. He also indicated that Intel would make use of foundries as a contingency plan.

Intel already makes use of leading foundry TSMC for some manufacturing, primarily where it has bought startup companies that are already on TSMC manufacturing processes. TSMC and Samsung are the only two chip foundries driving 5nm process technology and below.

TSMC is now the acknowledged semiconuductor manufacturing leader and is making chips for companies such as Apple using its FinFET 7nm and 5nm manufacturing process while Intel has failed to bring up its own 7nm FinFET process. However, TSMC's leading-edge processes are running at full capacity and the foundry may not be able to – or may choose not to – accommodate all the extra wafer demand that could come from Intel. This could have led to Intel's discussions with Samsung as th means to gain extra capacity and gain some competitive-edge on pricing.

However, such manufacturing contracts would apply to chips for delivery in 2023, according to a Bloomberg report.

Swan has reportedly promised investors he will outline plans for outsourcing and how the company will get its own production back on track, when the company reports its financial results on January 21.

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