Benn There, Done That
IBM tried it.
HP tried it
Will Intel make it happen ?
Intel’s new CEO Pat Gelsinger on Tuesday outlined his strategy: getting manufacturing processes right so that Chipzilla can create modular products, and either build them itself or work with third-party foundries. And do that all even as Intel makes a serious tilt at the foundry business itself. Intel calls this plan “ …
So, Intel is going to make packages-on-chips, create foundries in Arizona (Arizona has water ?), wants Apple and Qualcomm as customers, and will finally start making chips on 7nm five years after everyone else.
I'm a bit underwhelmed. I was hoping for something actually new. Foundries in Arizona ? A chip foundry uses millions of litres of water a day. Why Arizona ? Montana would be better. Or around the Great Lakes. But in the desert ? Tax breaks are nice, but you need water. Arizona doesn't have water. That's crazy.
I guess it's going to take some time to overcome Intel's current inertia and allow Gelsinger to really shine. Wait and see.
There isn’t any standardisation when it comes to talking about process sizes, so Intel 10nm is comparable to TSMC 7nm, and Intel 7nm looks like it will be comparable to TSMC 5nm. That’s still well late to the party though (TSMC have been in volume production since last year with 5nm and are expected to have 3nm in volume next year).
The TSMC/Apple relationship benefits those two companies far too much. TSMC benefits by having Apple prepay for supply years in advance which TSMC uses as funding to build out the new capacity with zero risk, and Apple benefits by having first access to the newest nodes with a guaranteed wafer supply, and with TSMC's process rollout schedule tailored to Apple's product cycle needs.
The interesting question for me is whether Intel would accept AMD as a customer, and whether AMD would be interested or would not trust Intel to treat them fairly when they are Intel's main competition. If Intel truly intends to operate as a foundry, it has to be a true "arm's length" relationship like Samsung's fabs are from their phone division.
I remember years ago speaking with a friend at Intel during one of the many AMD "back from the dead" moments, where it looked like AMD was going to eat Intel's lunch with new CPUs, and my friend said no one at Intel was the slightest bit concerned because they had something AMD would never have - tons of manufacturing capability. The thought was they could simply bury AMD with product. My how times have changed.
Agreed. Gelsinger was the CTO of Intel when he left in 2009 so is at least partially culpable for the arrogance and lack of innovation that led to AMD eating their lunch in the early 00's. (I had the misfortune to work there for a few years!) Still, good luck to him - he'll need it!
"[Intel] had something AMD would never have - tons of [spare cash]. The thought was they could simply bury AMD with product [rebates]"
Try that version, it still works, maybe it works better than the original. And has done for decades. Try this from 2010:
OK this is an Orlowski article but it's widely documented elsewhere too, and since then has anything much really changed?
Mind you there are some disasters that even an Intel-size cash mountain can't fix. IA64, for example. And even before that, getting rid of the ARM-centric bits of Intel (e.g. XScale family inherited from Digital Semiconductor) probably wasn't the brightest move either.
Intel. The ex86 company. Sell.
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