With its Apple silicon chips for Mac, Apple has proven how powerful and cost-effective an SoC (System on a Chip) can be. The M1 series has visibly marked Intel and, according to DigiTimes, the company is turning to Apple’s chipmaker TSMC, which is also said to apply the success formula to the new Meteor Lake chips.
5nm chips for Intel
According to DigiTimes, Intel plans to at least partially manufacture its 14th generation “Meteor Lake” central processors using TSMC’s 5nm process to build on the success of Apple’s M1 series of chips.
Announced last year, the Meteor Lake chips are Intel’s first multi-chip design that integrates an applications processor, graphics unit, and interconnect chips into a single advanced Intel Foveros package.
Intel initially announced that Meteor Lake processors would be manufactured using its own 7nm process, which the company calls “Intel 4”. Now, sources tell DigiTimes that Intel plans to order all chip blocks used in Meteor Lake processors from TSMC, Apple’s sole chip supplier.
Rather than relying solely on Intel’s internal 7nm process, the Meteor Lake chip blocks would be manufactured using TSMC’s 5nm process, much like Apple’s M1 chips for Mac. This decision is intended to avoid delays in the production and launch of the CPU. Importantly, the manufacturing technology should put Intel’s chips on par with Apple’s SoCs. Of course, much more than the manufacturing process is needed for this. However, cooperation with TSMC could solve Intel’s biggest problem. The chipmaker is lagging behind, especially in the area of manufacturing technology.
Apple’s A14 Bionic, A15 Bionic, M1, M1 Pro, M1 Max and M1 Ultra are manufactured using TSMC’s 5nm process. TSMC has reportedly received orders for chips for the iPhone 14, which will also be manufactured using the 5nm process.
The sources added that potential orders for Meteor Lake processors would be large enough to encourage TSMC to ramp up manufacturing capabilities for its 5nm chips by the end of the year. Intel Meteor Lake processors are expected to launch in 2023.