Intel is working to develop a better relationship with Apple chip supplier TSMC, as it looked to avoid battles with the Cupertino firm over TSMC’s 3nm chip production capacity, says Taiwanese supply chain news source DigiTimes.
Yesterday, we shared a DigiTimes report saying TSMC is currently testing pilot production of its 3nm chip fabricating process, known as N3.
The report said TSMC expects to move to volume production by the fourth quarter of 2022 and will begin shipping 3nm chips to customers like Apple and Intel in the first quarter of 2023.
Ahead of that, Intel is working to establish a firm relationship with the chipmaker to ensure that TSMC can fulfill its orders for an upcoming 3nm GPU, without conflicting with Apple’s needs.
DigiTimes says that high-level executives from Intel plan to visit Taiwan and TSMC in mid-December to discuss 3nm chip production and production capacity. During their meeting, Intel will allegedly be “striving for more available 3nm process capacity at TSMC” and that “Intel is eyeing a closer tie with TSMC to avoid fighting with Apple for the available process capacity.”
Intel is reportedly looking to TSMC’s 3nm process for its upcoming Meteor Lake processors. Intel doesn’t currently have any smaller fabricating processes, so using TSMC is one of the ways Intel could catch up.
The first devices that Apple is likely to use the new 3nm chips in will include the 2023 iPhone 15 models with an A17 chip and Apple silicon Macs with M3 chips. (The names of the chips are tentative, of course.)
The Information’s Wayne Ma last month said that some M3 chips will have up to four dies, which means the chips could have up to a 40-core CPU. The M1 chip has 8-cores, while the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips each boast 10-cores.
Apple is expected to use chips based on TSMC’s N4 process, which is another iteration of its 5nm process, in Macs with M2 chips and iPhone 14 models next year.