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Intel pulls 3 nm orders from TSMC; Apple chugs ahead
Posted by: pdq
Date: August 04, 2022 09:56PM
…which is causing headaches for TSMC, but not so much for the latter’s biggest customer, Apple.

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Intel has decided to postpone volume production of its Meteor Lake's GPU tile using TSMC's 3nm-class technology (N3, N3E, etc.) to late 2023, according to a report from TrendForce Research.

Apple and Intel were expected to be the first companies to adopt TSMC's N3 production node in the second half of 2022, with initial chips set to be delivered in early 2023. But Intel's first N3 product was projected to be the GPU tile for its 14th Generation Core 'Meteor Lake' processors that are expected to be released in fall 2023. As a result, it postponed the start of its GPU tile high volume manufacturing to the first half of 2023 and recently delayed it further into 2023, according to TrendForce.

Dunno if related or not, but Intel’s latest efforts at in-house GPU production to (theoretically) compete with Nvidia are currently a hot mess:

Are Intel Arc graphics cards dead on arrival?
The launch seems to be lurching from bad to worse

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…Our own Steve Walton recently looked at the entry-level Arc 3 A380, the only card in the series released so far—and it's only available in China. The card is expected to cost somewhere between $120 to $130, making it one of the cheapest new GPUs out there, but the results do suggest a 'get what you pay for' scenario. And that's being generous: the 5-year-old RX 570 that was originally $170 outperforms it.

CEO Pat Gelsinger…talked about the driver issues that so many reviewers have complained about. "We thought that we would be able to leverage the integrated graphics software stack, and it was wholly inadequate for the performance levels, gaming compatibility, et cetera, that we needed,"

Some say the whole effort, which lost half a billion for Intel per recent earnings reports, may be cancelled entirely, which (of course) Intel is denying.

While this means that TSMC has had to abruptly downsize its 3 nm process lines, it wasn’t because of Apple.

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…Apple has 3nm chips slated to arrive later this year, [and is] expected to completely switch to TSMC’s 3nm architecture by 2024

It’s possible Intel’s rug-pull is going to affect the Apple timeline - but I think the continuing-train-wreck that is Intel now is slightly amusing, given their recent very public assurances that that they would surpass Apple’s in-house designs in a few years.

Ai-yi-yi...
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Re: Intel pulls 3 nm orders from TSMC; Apple chugs ahead
Posted by: kj
Date: August 06, 2022 01:56PM
I don't think Intel ever thought they were going to compete with Nvidia, but perhaps we won't see the discrete cards. It would be nice if integrated intel graphics were more game capable, so hopefully at least they'll get that together, I think the pandemic screwed them to some extent though. I would watch Qualcomm more for competition on the efficiency front though, since they acquired a bunch of the engineers who developed the apple silicon, and that's been more their focus anyway.
I don't care that Intel said they were going to be competitive etc. though. Apple has said a billion times they would have a performance edge, and never really have until recently, so that happens. Who knows what the future brings, but it's all good.
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