Intel is outsourcing 14 nm CPU production to Samsung's foundries to ease the shortages
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Previously thought to stabilize in the second half of 2020, the 14 nm CPU shortages still remain an important disruption factor for most of Intel’s customers and partners that have been forced to look into possible alternatives provided by AMD. Intel even issued a public apology letter where it acknowledges that there are no immediate solutions for the shortages, but the company promises to somehow double its efforts to meet the demand in the coming months.
How is Intel going to achieve this? The company cannot magically build more foundries overnight, so why not outsource CPU production to other foundries? Reports from South Korea point out that Intel is already collaborating with Samsung in this regard, even though the two companies have been battling it out for the title of the world’s largest chip maker for the past few years.
Outsourcing to TSMC could have been the other option, but the Taiwanese foundries are currently overbooked with 7 nm orders from AMD and smartphone SoC makers, which leaves Samsung as the only viable foundry. The Korean reports mention that Samsung managed to lock in a significant number of orders from Intel, and it may also receive orders from Qualcomm if TSMC is not able to keep up with the demand.
This is a breath of fresh air for Samsung, as the tech giant has been recording declining numbers with the memory chip sales. Since the memory business is not really cutting it anymore for Samsung, the company is planning to focus more on logic chips and is prepared to invest up to US$116 billion in this endeavor, eying to become a true competitor for Intel in the consumer CPU market.