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Intel could still outsource chip manufacturing to TSMC

Intel’s struggle with its new 10nm process has put considerable strain on its 14nm chips, with the firm believed to have sought the help of rival TSMC to help with satiate demand. Although Intel later emphasised that it was handling its own manufacturing capacity, industry sources continue to claim that outsourcing is still on the cards.

Although the partnership with TSMC has always seemed unlikely, Intel fell short of demand by up to 50 percent at the beginning of September. Sources told DigiTimes that the collaboration was set to bring stock back to a reasonable level, with Intel focusing on its server-use processors and TSMC handling “entry-level H310 and several other 300 series desktop processors.”

Just two days later, Intel issued a statement admitting the “stronger than expected demand,” emphasising that it was continuing to invest in Intel’s 14nm manufacturing capacity. Despite not outright denying reports of its collaboration with TSMC, the intentional inflection on the company’s name suggested that outside help might not be needed.

While Intel will undoubtedly address continued shortages of its flagship Core and Xeon ranges in-house, DigiTimes sources have once again indicated that the firm might pass on production of its lower-end CPUs to TSMC, particularly its Atom line. If at all true, this would also pave the way for Intel to give more attention to its long-absent 10nm chips.

KitGuru Says: Of course, this is filed under ‘we’ve heard it all before’, so it’s worth taking this with a healthy pinch of salt until Intel issues an official statement. Still, it would be good to see 10nm finally come to light.

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