Intel May Delay Meteor Lake to Late 2023

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(Photograph: Cnet)
A brand new report alleges Intel is going through difficulties with its 14th technology Meteor Lake CPU. Since this tile-based chip requires tiles from each Intel and TSMC, Intel is allegedly asking TSMC to push again a few of its 3nm manufacturing. This may give Intel time to arrange its personal CPU tile for it, which can trigger issues for TSMC. The report contradicts all the things that’s been reported these days about Intel’s progress on this entrance. Subsequently, we should take it with an enormous grain of salt, as there are some unprecedented claims right here. If the center of the piece are true, Intel may very well be headed for some very tough waters.

As a refresher, Intel’s Meteor Lake structure will characteristic 4 tiles, or chiplets. There’s a GPU, a CPU, SoC, and an I/O tile. It’s been reported that these 4 tiles shall be made on three completely different nodes. Intel is accountable for the I/O and CPU tiles, which it’s making on Intel 4. The opposite two tiles shall be dealt with by TSMC. It’s going to vogue the GPU tile on its 3nm node, with the SoC being made on N4/N5. Clearly, for this chip to be in manufacturing all 4 tiles must be able to go on the identical time. Nevertheless, Digitimes experiences that Intel is behind on its CPU/compute tile. That is in keeping with the interpretation by Twitter consumer @retiredengineer. Information of Intel having points instantly contradicts Digitimes’ personal reporting from just some days in the past. Beforehand it mentioned “Intel insiders” reported the corporate was on monitor with its Intel 4 course of. That execution success would have it start manufacturing later this yr, to ship Meteor Lake in the midst of 2023.

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Digitimes now experiences that Meteor Lake has been delayed till the top of 2023. Because it wants TSMC’s 3nm GPU tile, it’s asking TSMC to push again its manufacturing schedule. CEO Pat Gelsinger will allegedly be visiting TSMC in August to work this out in particular person with TSMC’s prime brass. The reporting says Intel has initiated an “emergency correction” to its “platform blueprint.”

Right here’s the place issues get actually fascinating. When Intel and TSMC initially hammered out this huge deal, particular standing was conferred upon Intel. TSMC bestowed upon the corporate the title of “heavenly king” as a buyer standing. Because of the dimension of the order, TSMC then moved heaven and earth to create capability for Intel on its 3nm course of. This concerned making a second 3nm manufacturing line only for Intel’s order. Beforehand, the corporate was planning on turning this space into an R&D heart. Now Intel is asking the corporate to delay manufacturing at that facility. It says its Intel 4 tile isn’t prepared as a consequence of “market circumstances” or presumably a technical concern. The article states Intel should eat all the prices related to such a delay.

That is an outdated mock up of Meteor Lake. Be aware it reveals three tiles whereas the precise chips has 4. It’s potential the I/O tile is 3D stacked on this render. (Picture: Intel)

When you thought that was stunning, this subsequent bit is sort of certainly unimaginable. It says slightly than delay, Intel may simply ship its CPU design to TSMC and have the corporate make it. It might use its superior 3nm course of or present 5mm node for the tile. The notion of Intel outsourcing the fabrication of its personal silicon for its core competency could be stunning. It might additionally hit the corporate’s status. Intel’s largest aim for the approaching years is to regain engineering supremacy over TSMC. The interpretation says this transfer would trigger Intel to “lose face” however lower your expenses. It might additionally enable Intel time to “catch its breath” and work out its points (our translation there). The Twitter translator states that Intel utilizing TSMC for the CPU tile must be taken with an enormous grain of salt.

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This information comes within the wake of a earlier Digitimes report about TSMC’s largest clients asking for delays. It beforehand reported that Apple, AMD, and Nvidia have inquired about pushing again or lowering orders for 3nm and 5nm wafers. That’s as a result of latest financial state of affairs although, and is said to the GPU scarcity ending. The market is abruptly flooded with GPUs, which is allegedly inflicting Nvidia to push again its launch schedule for its RTX 40-series GPUs. Within the earlier experiences, the explanations given for delay had been associated to demand drops, not manufacturing points, however the two may add as much as a one-two punch for the foundry trade in 2023.

If this report is true, it will be an enormous hiccup in Intel’s plans, and that’s being charitable. The corporate has launched an aggressive roadmap to take the engineering crown again from TSMC. To try this it has to execute flawlessly over a several-year timeline. It’s planning on advancing 5 nodes in 4 years, in any case. Pushing one again may have a ripple impact on all people who following, together with Intel 3, 20A, and 18A. Nevertheless, we should wait and see the place the chips will fall. It might appear Intel could be higher served pushing Meteor Lake again six months versus utilizing TSMC 3nm for it. Capitulation to its essential rival looks as if it will be tougher to resist reputation-wise than no matter harm is completed to Intel’s backside line if it delays manufacturing.

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