Intel has decided to outsource its i3 processors to TSMC, after considering such a move for months.
Intel has fallen on hard times in recent years, being eclipsed by its long-time rival AMD, as well as Apple’s switch to its own, ARM-based, custom silicon. The company has dealt with security flaws, production bugs and supply issues. Most recently, it was announced that Pat Gelsinger would replace Bob Swan as CEO.
One of the biggest indications of Intel’s troubles was its willingness to consider outsourcing its processor manufacturing. While Intel has outsourced non-CPU chips for some time, this step would have never been an option years ago.
It appears Intel has moved forward, with plans to outsource its i3 production to TSMC in 2021, before moving its high-end chips over in 2022, according to TrendForce.
While the company is planning to kick off mass production of Core i3 CPUs at TSMC’s 5nm node in 2H21, Intel’s mid-range and high-end CPUs are projected to enter mass production using TSMC’s 3nm node in 2H22.
TrendForce believes the move will allow Intel to reserve its own in-house production for its most profitable, high-end chips.