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TSMC Wins Big: Outsourcing Intel's Key CPU Cores

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TSMC Wins Big: Outsourcing Intel's Key CPU Cores

Intel officially announced at the "IFS Direct Connect 2024" conference on February 21 in the United States that it will be partnering with TSMC for the production of critical CPU cores (Compute Tile) for two processors. This marks the finalization of the highly anticipated agreement, indicating Intel's strategic move to outsource CPU production to TSMC, with expectations of positively impacting TSMC's performance in the current year.

Reports indicate that Intel will entrust TSMC with the production of key Compute Tiles for processors codenamed "Arrow Lake" and "Lunar Lake," leveraging TSMC's advanced 3nm process technology. Set to be released within the year, these chips are designed for consumer applications, signaling a potential boost to TSMC's performance and setting the stage for future collaboration in the 2nm process.

It is noteworthy that TSMC had previously manufactured CPUs for Intel's Atom platform more than a decade ago, although the Atom platform was not Intel's primary focus. In recent years, Intel has outsourced some GPU chip and processor SoC core production to TSMC, while retaining crucial CPU core manufacturing in-house. For example, Intel's Core i9 Ultra processor, launched last year, utilized various process technologies for different chiplet components, including TSMC's 5nm GPU Tile, TSMC's 6nm SoC Tile, and TSMC's 6nm I/O Tile. However, the central Compute Tile remained based on Intel's proprietary Intel 4 process technology.

Following the IDM 2.0 strategy announcement a few years ago, Intel has been actively expanding wafer manufacturing capacity and developing its wafer outsourcing business. In a strategic move last year, Intel announced plans to fully separate its wafer outsourcing business, enhancing its independence. This initiative enables Intel's wafer outsourcing business to better serve a diverse range of customers, while also providing greater flexibility for Intel's processor business to select suitable external wafer outsourcing partners.


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