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The transistor density of Intel’s most advanced products could match that of TSMC by the end of the year. According to an analysis by Wikichip Fuse based on data published by both companies, Intel 4 chips will reach 123.4 million transistors per square millimeter, versus TSMC N3’s 124 million switches. The former is scheduled for a second-half 2023 launch, whereas TSMC has already commenced mass production of the N3 node. The Taiwanese foundry will release multiple N3 process variants geared toward different applications.
Once perceived as untouchable, Intel lost technological leadership in the last decade. The company launched its 10nm chips four years late after setting scaling goals too aggressively, allowing Samsung and TSMC to grab the lead. Taking the helm in 2021, CEO Pat Gelsinger vowed to regain “unquestioned CPU leadership performance” in 2024 or 2025. In parallel, Intel is looking to boost production volumes by opening up its fab to external customers.
NVidia, a major customer of TSMC as well as Samsung, recently hinted that it’s open to manufacturing with Intel. CEO Jensen Huang said that “we recently received the test chip results of their next-generation process, and the results look good.” Previously, Qualcomm and Amazon Web Services had already signed up.