Intel could turn to Samsung for 14nm Rocket Lake chip production

It seems that Samsung and Intel have been in talks for an arrangement which would see the Korean conglomerate manufacture the American semiconductor giant’s 14nm Rocket Lake chips. A report out of South Korea claims that the negotiations between both companies are now in the final stages.

Samsung has been trying to win new customers for its contract manufacturing business as it faces a slowdown in the memory chip market. The lack of demand has negatively impacted Samsung’s bottom line. The company wants to offset that by making more non-memory chips and also producing chips for clients like Qualcomm and possibly Intel.

Samsung may produce 14nm chips for Intel

A source cited in the report claims that “We know that the contract negotiations with Intel, which was only rumored, are in the final stages.” Samsung will reportedly begin mass production of Intel’s 14nm Rocket Lake chips in the fourth quarter of next year with the first Samsung-made CPUs hitting the market in 2021.

Intel has been dealing with a CPU supply shortage since the second half of 2018. It’s heavily invested in upgrading and setting up new lines for 10nm chip production but it would be a few years before it can scale them up. Intel has to keep its 14nm production yields up while it does that because it needs to put chips on the market. So it would be looking to offset some of that burden over to Samsung, which would gladly take it on for the right price.

With Samsung focused on finding new growth engines, it goes without saying that it will be looking to overtake TSMC as the top contract manufacturer for chips. Qualcomm has reportedly tapped Samsung to manufacture the Snapdragon 865 as well so that will help in pursuit of that aim.

Intel might be opting for Samsung because its competitor, AMD, is having all of its 7nm CPU and GPU parts produced at TSMC. Moreover, the Taiwanese company also continues to make chips, and the ongoing US ban on Huawei might have given Intel another reason to opt for Samsung.

Neither Samsung nor Intel have confirmed this arrangement but a public announcement would most likely be made when all the Is have been dotted and Ts crossed.

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