No, Intel Is Not Working With Samsung For 14nm Rocket Lake CPU Fabrication

Intel Engineer
Yesterday we wrote about a Korean-language news report suggesting that Intel had commissioned Samsung, a rival of sorts in the semiconductor space (as it pertains to jockeying for the title of top semiconductor producer), to manufacture its upcoming 14-nanometer Rocket Lake CPUs. Well, we have new information debunking that claim.

According to the original report by SeDaily, Intel had contracted to Samsung to handle production of Rocket Lake parts in order to make sure that supply could keep up with demand. It seemed plausible, given that Intel has dealt with shortages of some currently shipping processors, and it was a rumor that had made the rounds in the past.

Nevertheless, we have since found out that the rumor is not accurate. We have it on good authority from sources close to the matter, that Samsung will in fact NOT be manufacturing CPUs of any kind for Intel. Furthermore, though Intel will likely not confirm (or deny) any deal with Samsung directly at this time, the company does already have a history of working with external chip fab partners. These relationships usually engage with contract fab partners for technologies that are not related to core CPU technologies and as such, not core IP-based products and technologies.

What does that ultimately mean for Rocket Lake? Well, it is too early to tell, since leaked roadmaps have Rocket Lake debuting in 2020. That is the same time frame as Intel's 10nm Tiger Lake products, and as we have mentioned before, it will be interesting to see how the two product stacks coexist.

Intel is not competing with itself, of course. AMD is getting ready to make available its third generation Ryzen processors, based on its Zen 2 architecture, which is built on a 7nm manufacturing process. By 2020, AMD should be shipping Zen 3 products based on an enhanced 7nm+ node.

Meanwhile, Intel has repeatedly said that it is on track to ship 10nm CPUs in volume by the end of this year. Those are likely to be mobile parts, at least at first, followed by volume shipments of 10nm desktop CPUs. Intel's 10nm node is roughly as advanced as AMD's 7nm node, though how the actual shipping products compare to one another is obviously a question that will have to answered another day.