Intel appears to be a strong contender for manufacturing Nvidia chips, as indicated by recent statements from Nvidia’s CEO. Jensen Huang expressed openness to the idea of Intel producing Nvidia’s GPUs through Intel’s foundry services program over a year ago.
While Huang initially remained noncommittal, he recently provided more concrete information during a question-and-answer session at the Computex tradeshow in Taipei. He revealed that Nvidia had received promising results for an Intel test chip using Intel’s next-generation process node.
Nvidia’s progress with test chips suggests that they may be further along in the manufacturing process than anticipated, potentially nearing the production of a final product. However, several unanswered questions still remain.
Huang did not specify the architectural designs of the test chips or the specific process node that was tested. Currently, Intel manufactures chips using Intel 4 (4nm transistors), with Intel 3 (3nm transistors) expected later this year. Intel 20A (2.0nm) and Intel 18A (1.8nm) are projected for next year.
Huang also highlighted the importance of diversifying Nvidia’s supply chain for resilience. The company aims to manufacture in multiple locations to minimize risks. Currently, Nvidia heavily relies on TSMC for chip production, but concerns over geopolitical tensions and capacity limitations have prompted the search for alternative suppliers.
TSMC, based in Taiwan, faces challenges due to the Chinese government’s intentions regarding the island and its strained water resources. Even without geopolitical concerns, TSMC’s production capabilities are stretched thin. As a result, both Nvidia and other TSMC customers are actively seeking chip suppliers outside of Taiwan.
To address these issues, Intel’s manufacturing partnership could offer Nvidia the necessary capacity and fabrication facilities without the geopolitical risks associated with Taiwan. By diversifying its manufacturing sources, Nvidia can establish a more stable supply chain and mitigate potential supply chain disruptions.
Collaborating with Intel as a manufacturer may prove beneficial for Nvidia, reducing its reliance on a single supplier and safeguarding its supply chain against unforeseen challenges and limitations.