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gradi

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 20, 2022
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96
It looks like Apple, in order to diversify their supply chain and reduce their heavy dependence on China and Taiwan, may start getting some of their future Apple Silicon chip designs manufactured by Intel in the new plant in Arizona.

 

bodonnell202

macrumors 68020
Jan 5, 2016
2,131
2,700
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Uhhh… TSMC is opening a 3 nm fab in Arizona, that where be where the manufacturing diversification will be coming from, not Intel. Intel is a couple generations behind TSMC on their leading node anyway.
 
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bradl

macrumors 603
Jun 16, 2008
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It isn’t happening. Intel has a campus in Chandler, AZ, but they are NOT a FAB plant. In fact, none of the campuses in the US produce CPUs. So where this guy is getting this info from is wrong and he is seriously blowing smoke out of his proverbial arse.

I know this first hand with Intel. It is not happening.

BL.
 

neinjohn

macrumors member
Nov 9, 2020
93
59
IMO Intel would need to completely blow TSMC out of water, hard external circumstances and Qualcomm/MediaTek to use their fab to put out some leading SoC for Apple to go in negotiation.

That said I would love for Intel to provide alternative to TSMC prowess. Samsung is a hot mess at the moment.
 

theorist9

macrumors 68020
May 28, 2015
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Intel's nodes are trailing edge at best, and their tools are shoddy.

They had their chance in 2009-2010, and threw it away.
Don't count Intel out.

It's my understanding that a key part of the reason TSMC (and Samsung) have been able to produce chips with such small feature sizes is that they purchased several EUV photolithography machines from ASML, the only company that makes them (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ASML_Holding). These machines produce extreme ultraviolet (EUV) light, whose wavelengths are sufficiently small to etch low-nm scale features. [ASML is a Dutch multinational. I recall reading these machines are designed principally in ASML's US offices, and assembled by their facilities worldwide.]

Intel, by contrast, has been slow in its purchase of these machines. Here's a summary of the installed EUV base as of April 2022 by Scotten Jones from https://semiwiki.com/semiconductor-services/ic-knowledge/311036-intel-and-the-euv-shortage/ . You can see the clear contrast between Intel, Samsung and TSMC:

[The bullet points are a direct quote from Scotten Jones.]
  • Intel currently has 3 development fabs phases that are EUV capable and 1 EUV capable production fab although only the development fab has EUV tools installed. Intel is building 8 more EUV capable production fabs.
  • Micron Technology has announced they are pulling in EUV from the one delta node to one gamma. Micron’s Fab 16-A3 in Taiwan is under construction to support EUV.
  • Nanya has talked about implementing EUV.
  • SK Hynix is in production of one alpha DRAM using EUV for approximately 5 layers and have placed a large EUV tool order with ASML.
  • Samsung is using EUV for 7nm and 5nm logic and ramping up 3nm. Samsung also has 1z DRAM in production with 1 EUV layer and 1 alpha ramping up with 5 EUV layers. Fabs in Hwaseong and Pyeongtaek have EUV tools with significant expansion in Pyeongtaek underway and the planned Austin logic fab will be EUV.
  • TSMC has fab 15 phases 5, 6, and 7 running 7nm EUV processes. Fab 18 phase 1, 2, and 3, are running 5nm with EUV. 5nm capacity ended 2021 at 120k wpm and has been projected to reach 240k wpm by 2024. Fab 21 in Arizona will add an additional 20k wpm of 5nm capacity. 3nm is ramping in Fab 18 phases 4, 5, and 6 and is projected to be a bigger node than 5nm. Fab 20 phases 1, 2, 3, and 4, are in the planning stages for 2nm and another 2nm site is being discussed.
However, even though Intel has been a slow starter, it's now ramping up its own purchase of advanced ASML EUV machines:


Thus, while there is of course much more to small processes than owning an EUV machine, given Intel's general expertise they may catch up to TSMC within a few years.

I don't know why Intel was not more aggressive in acquiring these early on. Ironically, Intel has been involved with ASML since 1997, and purchased a 15% stake in the company in 2012.

BTW, here's a pic of their Twinscan NXE:3400B during final assembly:

1669275656248.png

 
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sam_dean

macrumors regular
Sep 9, 2022
169
121
Intel's nodes are trailing edge at best, and their tools are shoddy.

They had their chance in 2009-2010, and threw it away.
They had their chance with 14nm from 2014 and fumbled in 2016 when others were able to do 10nm starting that year.

Intel only did something about their being stuck with 14nm by 2021 when Apple made the announce of their own chips by WWDC 2020.

I think they are just starting to do Intel 7... a marketing term for their refined 10nm die shrink while Apple is already doing TSMC N4
 

jz0309

macrumors 603
Sep 25, 2018
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Even IF Intel were at the same node as TSMC, fab processes between foundries are different enough that Apple would need a different design, so 2 versions of the “same” chip, that ain’t happening any time soon.
Could Spple use Intel foundry services in the future? Sure, IF it makes business sense.
 

GMShadow

macrumors 6502a
Jun 8, 2021
849
3,211
Even IF Intel were at the same node as TSMC, fab processes between foundries are different enough that Apple would need a different design, so 2 versions of the “same” chip, that ain’t happening any time soon.
Could Spple use Intel foundry services in the future? Sure, IF it makes business sense.

Apple has occasionally redesigned - the A5 was die shrunk to 32nm in 2012, then a later single core only variant (not disabled, genuinely not fabbed) came along. And the A9 of course was fabbed on both TSMC 16nm and Samsung 14nm.

But it’s expensive to do that, and I don’t see Intel offering an advantage. Part of the reason TSMC does so well is how much capital Apple has invested into them, letting them get first dibs on anything as a result. Apple and Intel had a close relationship but it was much more “collaborators” rather than “customer/supplier”.
 

jz0309

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Sep 25, 2018
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Apple has occasionally redesigned - the A5 was die shrunk to 32nm in 2012, then a later single core only variant (not disabled, genuinely not fabbed) came along. And the A9 of course was fabbed on both TSMC 16nm and Samsung 14nm.

But it’s expensive to do that, and I don’t see Intel offering an advantage. Part of the reason TSMC does so well is how much capital Apple has invested into them, letting them get first dibs on anything as a result. Apple and Intel had a close relationship but it was much more “collaborators” rather than “customer/supplier”.
Yep, and since you remember the dual-sourcing of the A9 you sure remember all the outrage about those chips as they were not equal in performance, so Apple won’t do something like that any time soon.
Given rumors of 3nm masksets running close to $100M, TSMC 3nm wafer cost if $20k per, there got to be an extremely compelling argument to dual-source, even for Apple.

But, if in the future Intel demonstrates an advantage over TSMC, Apple will look at that, for the latest and greatest SOCs. For the simpler chips, things might not take that long…
 

teh_hunterer

macrumors 6502a
Jul 1, 2021
521
777
I see Max Tech, I do not click.

I'm still waiting for PC gaming to die since the iPad got mouse and keyboard support. Once it does, I might take them seriously again. It has been a couple years and barely any iPad games even have mouse support at all.

They're clickbait clowns.
 

gradi

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 20, 2022
147
96
Time will tell. Intel? TSMC? Who knows? Certainly not a single person who has replied in this thread and who are so sure about it. :)

Apple will buy processors from factory in Arizona, CEO Tim Cook reportedly says​



“We’ve already made a decision to be buying out of a plant in Arizona, and this plant in Arizona starts up in ’24, so we’ve got about two years ahead of us on that one, maybe a little less,” Cook said, according to Bloomberg.
 

bradl

macrumors 603
Jun 16, 2008
5,397
16,503
Time will tell. Intel? TSMC? Who knows? Certainly not a single person who has replied in this thread and who are so sure about it. :)

Apple will buy processors from factory in Arizona, CEO Tim Cook reportedly says​



“We’ve already made a decision to be buying out of a plant in Arizona, and this plant in Arizona starts up in ’24, so we’ve got about two years ahead of us on that one, maybe a little less,” Cook said, according to Bloomberg.

I know that this won't happen; at least not from an Intel factory in Arizona, because there is no Intel "factory" in Arizona. I know that for absolute certainty.
 

MayaUser

macrumors 68000
Nov 22, 2021
1,521
2,869
Just speculation...when we have this kind of things around "Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger to( made a short trip to Taiwan to meet with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) in order to secure more sub-7nm and 28nm process manufacturing capacity,"
So , based on this Intel itself needs TSMC ....So TSMC is the goat now and not intel, so this is more true than that clickbait youtube channel
 

jz0309

macrumors 603
Sep 25, 2018
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I know that this won't happen; at least not from an Intel factory in Arizona, because there is no Intel "factory" in Arizona. I know that for absolute certainty.
hmm, wonder where Ocotillo is, Intel has several fabs there ...
 

bradl

macrumors 603
Jun 16, 2008
5,397
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hmm, wonder where Ocotillo is, Intel has several fabs there ...

Ocotillo is the Chandler campus. They don't produce CPUs there. I know because I've had to ship CPUs and receive CPUs from them to test. All of the CPUs they have shipped me to test at Folsom were made in China. No Fabs at Chandler.

BL.
 

jz0309

macrumors 603
Sep 25, 2018
6,405
17,409
SoCal
Ocotillo is the Chandler campus. They don't produce CPUs there. I know because I've had to ship CPUs and receive CPUs from them to test. All of the CPUs they have shipped me to test at Folsom were made in China. No Fabs at Chandler.

BL.
Well, might want to do a little research before posting such a bold statement. Here’s a start: https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/corporate-responsibility/intel-in-arizona.html

I used to work at Intel for well over 10 years, and I gowned up and stepped into Intels first 300mm fab - in Ocotillo
 
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