Report: TSMC to make Intel's 'next' discrete graphics chip

January 12, 2021 // By Peter Clarke
Report: TSMC to make Intel's 'next' discrete graphics chip
Intel plans to use an as yet unannounced manufacturing process from leading foundry TSMC to make its next generation discrete graphics IC, according to a Reuters report.

The chip, codenamed DG2, is likely a derivative of Intel's Ponte Vecchio discrete GPU. Ponte Vecchio was originally slated to appear on Intel's 7nm process in 2021, but in July 2020, Intel CEO Bob Swan said it would be made using external and internal manufacturing process technologies and advanced packaging as a chiplet-based component. He also said it would appear late in 2021 or early 2022 (see Intel goes foundry for 7nm due to yield issues ).

Reuters has now referenced two unnamed sources saying the DG2 chip is expected to be released later in 2021 or early in 2022 to compete with gaming chips from Nvidia and AMD that cost $400 to $600. This is the same timetable as Ponte Vecchio suggesting the product has bifurcated into DG1 aimed at data center applications and DG2 aimed at graphics cards and PCs for gaming applications.

DG2 will be made for Intel by TSMC using a manufacturing process that has not yet been named but would be an enhanced version of its 7nm process, the report said.

Intel was once the world's most advanced chip manufacturing but problems bringing up its 10nm and 7nm FinFET manufacturing processes in recent years have seen it fall behind foundries such as TSMC and Samsung. In July 2020 Swan said: "We have identified a defect mode in our 7-nanometer process that resulted in yield degradation. We've root-caused the issue and believe there are no fundamental roadblocks, but we have also invested in contingency plans to hedge against further schedule uncertainty."

The use of the word contingency was another way of saying Intel would use foundry manufacturing – and the reduced margin on chip sales that implies – to try and keep its products more-or-less on time and competitive.

The enhanced 7nm manufacturing process could provide Intel with an advantage over Nvidia, which has used a nominal 8nm manufacturing process at Samsung to make its most

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