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Samsung could win big on Intel’s failure to deliver on its 7nm promises

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Last updated: July 27th, 2020 at 22:19 UTC+02:00

Intel has been struggling with advancing its manufacturing processes to 7nm, and this could spell good news for Samsung's foundry business. Last week, Intel revealed that its ongoing transition to 7nm has been problematic and that its first 7nm-based chips might not make it to market earlier than 2022 – a year later than initially planned.

Some industry watchers now suspect that these unfavorable circumstances could force Intel to seek 3rd-party assistance in a bid to keep up with the competition. In other words, Intel might have to offload the production of 7nm chips to Samsung's foundry business.

Why Samsung and not TSMC?

Aside from the fact that TSMC is one of Intel's rivals in the foundry business – much like Samsung is – industry watchers believe that Samsung has a much higher chance than TSMC to sign a contract with Intel for the production of 7nm chips. One of the main reasons behind this is that TSMC is already the main supplier of Intel's biggest rivals in the PC chip business, AMD.

Samsung's foundry business is rivaling Intel's own endeavors in the segment, however, Samsung is at least not building high-end chipsets for its main competitor in the PC market, which gives it a greater chance of becoming an Intel supplier.

Samsung might be expanding its chipset factory in Austin

According to a report from ZDNet citing industry sources, Samsung might be planning to expand its chip foundry in Austin, Texas, assuming that Intel becomes its client for 7nm manufacturing.

Samsung did pull the plug on the development of its own custom chipsets at Austin. Nevertheless, the state capital of Texas remains home of Samsung's largest semiconductor manufacturing plant outside of South Korea. However, the Austin facilities are ill-equipped for 7nm EUV manufacturing. If Intel decides to build its future 7nm chips with Samsung's help, the latter company might decide – and have a reason – to expand its Austin facilities and be closer to Intel and meet the company's requirements.

Via BusinessGeneral IntelSamsung FoundrySamsung Semiconductor
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