Intel has reportedly agreed with Samsung Electronics for the production of processors on its 14nm processors.
Intel has been suffering a supply shortage of central processing units from last year. According to the semiconductor industry, the Samsung foundry division plans to mass-produce Intel's products in the fourth and fourth quarter of next year at the 14-nanometer process. It is estimated that Intel's 14-nano PC CPU 'Rocket Lake' will be released in 2021.
Intel's 10nm process has been problematic to say the least, pushing the company to manufacture more products using the 14 nm tech.
Intel's startegic decision to chose Samsung Electronics as its foundry service provider instead of Taiwan’s TSMC seems to be related to the U.S. government, which is strengthening sanctions against Huawei. Previously, TSMC, which produces most products of HiSilicon, the semiconductor design subsidiary of Huawei, said it would continue supplying products for Huawei despite the U.S. government's ban on the latter.
In adition, Intel's CPU market competitor, AMD, has decided to build all of its 7-nm CPUs and GPUs at TSMC. Expectations are growing that AMD would expand its market share due to Intel’s delay in miniaturization.
Samsung’s price offer to Intel was reportedly about 60 percent level of TSMC’s. Samsung quoted the cost of full mask sets which were even lower than the multi-layer mask service (MLM) sets that were introduced by TSMC to reduce costs for small quantity production. Masks are special films used to draw circuits on a wafer.
With Intel on its foundry client list, Samsung Electronics, which has secured orders from Qualcomm, NVIDIA and IBM, could be be able "threaten" TSMC and become the world's largest non-memory semiconductor company in the followign years.
Samsung's 14-nm process has a long period of maturity unlike the latest 7-nm extreme ultraviolet (EUV) process chosen by Qualcomm and NVIDIA.
Market research firm TrendForce recently reported that TSMC is accounting for 49.2 percent of the global foundry market, followed by Samsung Electronics (18 percent), GlobalFoundries (8.7 percent), UMC (7.5 percent) and SMIC (5.1 percent). This quarter, the market has shrunk about 8 percent from a year ago to US$15.4 billion. The research firm said that the market would show a negative growth for the first time in 10 years this year due to the ongoing global economic recession and the growth rate for this year is estimated at negative 3 percent.