Intel is looking to develop a closer relationship with TSMC, Apple’s largest and most important chip supplier, to avoid possible clashes with the Cupertino tech giant over TSMC’s 3nm chip production, according to DigiTimes.
Yesterday, we reported on TSMC beginning pilot production of its 3nm process that will eventually be used in future Apple silicon Macs. Apple currently uses a 5nm process in its latest iPhones, Macs, and iPads.
Ahead of Apple’s adoption of the smaller chip process in its products, Intel is now trying to establish a clear relationship with TSMC to ensure the Taiwan supplier will fulfill its orders for a rumored upcoming 3nm GPU, without conflicting with Apple’s orders.
DigiTimes reports today that high-level executives from Intel plan to visit Taiwan and TSMC in mid-December to discuss 3nm chip production and production capacity. The report says that during their meeting, Intel will be “striving for more available 3nm process capacity at TSMC” and that “Intel is eyeing a closer tie with TSMC to avoid fighting with Apple for the available process capacity.”
A report last month said that Intel would be looking to adopt TSMC’s 3nm process for its upcoming Meteor Lake processors. Intel currently doesn’t utilize any smaller processes, and handing off the job to a third-party, such as TSMC, is a way Intel can possibly catch up to Apple.
Apple is undertaking a two-year-long transition that will phase out Intel chips in its Mac lineup in favor of Apple silicon. The transition officially began in November 2020 with the M1 chip in the 13-inch MacBook Air, Mac mini, and MacBook Pro. Apple furthered its transition this year with the 24-inch iMac, followed more recently by the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros.
The 27-inch iMac, the Mac Pro, and a high-end Mac mini remain the only Intel-based Macs in the lineup. Apple has described Intel’s chips as “power-hungry processors” and has credited the efficiency and size of Apple silicon for some more radical Mac design changes, such as those seen in the most recent iMac.