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jmke 16th October 2009 09:58

Intel gives TSMC 32nm and 22nm process tech?
PEOPLE WATCHING TSMC'S process development might have noticed a radical change in messaging a few months ago. The foundry not only changed its high-K/metal gate (HKMG) strategy, but it also pulled in the timetables at the same time.

Insiders had been telling us that the TSMC 32nm process was in deep trouble, and 22nm wasn't looking good either. Then one day, poof, things got better. This quite remarkable turnaround is due to one thing, Intel.

etting back to TSMC though, what happens if the chips can't be made because Intel's fab partner isn't up to speed? All of the people who bought into the Intel Atom++ scheme suddenly get burned, badly. Catch-22 time, make the chips in-house and give up more secrets, or drop the program.

Intel tap danced through this minefield in a very interesting way. It gave some process tech to TSMC in order for it to fab the Atom++ parts. That was the only thing it could do, and the lesser of two evils. That said, it didn't give the foundry everything, and certainly not the best parts of the process, just enough to get the job done.

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