TSMC Starts 3nm Production for Upcoming Intel CPUs

TSMC Starts 3nm Production for Upcoming Intel CPUs

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Intel has already revealed its next-gen mobile architecture known as Lunar Lake, and in a first for Intel, its compute tile is made by TSMC on its 3nm process. Intel will also be tapping its biggest rival for its upcoming Arrow Lake desktop processors as well, and now a report from Taiwan states TSMC has begun production on the 3nm chips that will be used for both of Intel’s upcoming platforms.

TSMC has been cranking out 3nm chips for a little over a year now, but its initial run was reserved for Apple’s A17 Pro chip for the iPhone as well as its M3 and M4 processors. Now TSMC is turning its attention to Intel, which will be using its 3nm process for both Lunar Lake and Arrow Lake. As Techpowerup notes, although we know Lunar Lake’s compute tile is made on TSMC’s 3nm process, it’s unclear at this time how Intel will be using these chips for Arrow Lake. It is a huge deal for Intel to turn to a competing foundry to make its CPUs, so it’s unclear if Lunar Lake is just a one-off deal. Plus, Arrow Lake has been touted as the first Intel CPUs to use its cutting-edge Intel 20A process.

Intel roadmap

As you can see here, Intel has put Arrow Lake down for its 20A process, so it’s likely using TSMC for the GPU tile, not the compute tile like with Lunar Lake.
Credit: Intel

The reason why there is so much mystery surrounding Arrow Lake’s tiles is this architecture will feature the same Lion Cove P-cores and Skymont E-cores as Lunar Lake. Therefore, it stands to reason that is TSMC made the tile that contains them, they might also make them for Arrow Lake. It was also previously rumored that TSMC would make the high-end Arrow Lake CPU tile, while Intel 20A would be used for the midrange and lower chips, but we’ll believe that when we see it. Plus, it was previously thought that Intel was just TSMC just for the GPU tile, which is what it did with Meteor Lake as well.

Another interesting ripple is Intel made radical changes to its tile layout with Lunar Lake, so it’s unclear if it’ll do the same with Arrow Lake. For its first tile-based design—Meteor Lake—it used four tiles consisting of tiles for compute, SoC, I/O, and GPU. Lunar Lake has just two tiles; a compute tile and a “platform controller” tile. All the powerful stuff is in the compute tile, including the NPU, GPU, and CPU. Since Arrow Lake will be physically larger than Lunar Lake as it’s made for desktops, Intel will have a lot more square footage to play with, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see a return to a four-tile design. That would allow it to use TSMC for the GPU tile, and Intel 20A for the compute tile.

All will be revealed soon enough, as Intel is expected to launch Arrow Lake later this year, likely after it launches Lunar Lake in Q3.

View original source here.

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