Notebookcheck Logo

TSMC changes 3 nm production plans in order to accommodate Intel's CPU orders

TSMC - Intel partnership stronger than initially thought? (Image Source: ChinaTimes)
TSMC - Intel partnership stronger than initially thought? (Image Source: ChinaTimes)
The partnership between TSMC and Intel is solidified through the transformation of the Fab 12 P8 / P9 center in Baoshan into a fully fledged production site with an independent team serving Intel. TSMC thus ensures that the Intel and Apple production lines stay separate and designs remain confidential.

DigiTimes recently published a report on TSMC’s latest developments on the upcoming 3 nm production nodes, informing that the Taiwanese foundries are now changing their initial plans in order to accommodate the newly secured orders from Intel. The English article that is now up on DigiTimes appears to be missing a few points made in the original Chinese version, but we now have a clear translation that adds in those missing details, thanks to RetiredEngineer on Twitter.

TSMC initially planned a mass production start for its 3 nm nodes in the first half of 2022 to align with Apple’s and Intel’s product release roadmaps. Due to unexpected difficulties, however, the 3 nm mass production was pushed back by several months and is now expected to begin some time in the second half of this year, with real volume scheduled for early 2023. Apparently, the 3 nm yields were subpar, but TSMC managed to improve them substantially in the meantime. TSMC is projecting strong demand for 3 nm tech well into 2024, with the bulk of the orders coming from Apple and Intel, yet still being able to satisfy demand from long-time customers like Broadcom, AMD, Nvidia, Qualcomm and MediaTek.

The newly secured orders from Intel led to some restructuring measures, which included the repurposing of the new P8 / P9 expansions of the Fab 12 Gigafab at Baoshan, Hsinchu Science park. The P8 / P9 complex was originally intended to serve as an R&D center and mini-line, focusing on designing sub-3 nm transistors. TSMC was planning to complete this R&D center extending on 32.7 hectares by the end of 2021 and turn it into the equivalent of the Bell Labs, where 8,000 additional personnel would be hired.

Plans suddenly changed with the new Intel partnership and the R&D center blueprints needed to be revised. The P8 / P9 complex will be converted into a second fully fledged production base, with an independent team serving Intel. On the other hand, Fab 18 will remain the main base for 5 nm and 3 nm production. This will help TSMC keep Intel and Apple confidential designs and products totally separate from each other. First wave target production for the P8 / P9 factories is 20K wafers per month and will be utilized to satisfy Intel’s “important CPU orders.”

Industry sources are suggesting that this change of plans at TSMC should prove that the Intel partnership is more solid than expected, with long-term goals spanning beyond the 2 nm GAAFET era starting in 2025.


Buy the Intel Core i9-12900KF CPU on Amazon


DigiTimes 1 / 2


Read all 2 comments / answer
static version load dynamic
Loading Comments
Comment on this article
Please share our article, every link counts!
> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2022 01 > TSMC changes 3 nm production plans in order to accomodate Intel's CPU orders
Bogdan Solca, 2022-01-13 (Update: 2022-01-14)