Intel to produce most of the 7 nm CPUs releasing in 2023 on its own "fixed" nodes, some parts will still be outsourced
Intel’s latest stellar earnings report probably surprised no one, since these financial figures have been so disconnected from the company’s internal affairs for a few years now. Industry analysts were more interested to learn about Intel’s future plans, and the earnings call did not disappoint, delivering quite a few interesting details regarding the heavily-rumored outsourcing plans plus the state of the 7 nm nodes. In a nutshell, Intel will not rely too much on outsourced chips and is determined to continue producing most upcoming line-ups through its own fabs.
We have been hearing that the 10 nm nodes are supposed to finally become a fully working node in 2021, and Intel essentially confirmed this saying that the 10 nm supply unit growth has quadrupled and will continue to improve throughout the year, so we can possibly expect decent quantities for the Alder Lake-S CPUs scheduled to launch in 2H21.
With so many delays, the 10 nm nodes are not really of too much interest anymore for the fans, as the focus is shifting towards the 7 nm nodes that are still on track for a 2023 launch. CEO Bob Swan explained that the 7 nm delays were caused by difficulties with a sequence of steps in the production process, leading to a high rate of defects. However, these problems appear to have been fixed by rearchitecting the entire production process, which now includes simplified and streamlined nodes that should deliver the projected capacities by 2023. The soon to be instated CEO Pat Gelsinger also shared his vision regarding the 7 nm nodes. Gelsinger personally reviewed progress on the new process over the last week and now appears to be content with the “health and recovery of the 7 nm program.” The improved state of the 7 nm nodes reassures Gelsinger that most of the 2023 CPU line-ups will be produced in Intel’s own fabs, but, given the breadth of the product portfolio, Intel will need to expand its use of external foundries. Intel is still mulling over employing TSMC’s 3 nm nodes for some components.
The full 2021 outlook will be presented in the next financial report, and Pat Gelsinger is also expected to provide more details on the planned company overhaul as soon as he is instated as the new CEO.