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AI chips in short supply, Intel to join Nvidia advanced packaging supplier camp?

Jessie February 01, 2024

GPU giant NVIDIA's AI chips are in short supply in the world, and the main reason is that its contract manufacturing partner TSMC's CoWoS advanced packaging capacity is insufficient. Even if TSMC commits to expansion, it is not expected to double capacity until the end of the year at the earliest, easing the pressure of supply shortages. In this regard, it is now reported in the market that Intel has also joined the ranks of supplying NVIDIA advanced packaging, with a monthly production capacity of about 5,000 pieces. As for the timing, it will join Nvidia's advanced packaging supply chain as soon as the second quarter of 2024.

According to Intel's previous description, the main advanced packaging technology at this stage is divided into 2.5D EMIB (embedded multi-chip interconnection bridge, horizontal integration packaging technology), and 3D Foveros (using heterogeneous stack logic processing operations, can put each logic chip stack together) two categories. First of all, 2.5D EMIB is mainly applied to the splicing of logic computing chips and high-bandwidth memory. The Intel Xeon Max series and Intel Data Cneter GPU Max series published at present have been equipped with EMIB packaging technology.

As for the more advanced 3D Foveros advanced packaging technology, the top chip is no longer limited by the base chip size, and can carry more top and base chips, and directly connect the top chip to the substrate through the copper column, reducing the number of silicon perforation (TSV) to reduce the interference it may cause. The future will be equipped with the upcoming Meteor Lake, Arrow Lake and Lunar Lake series of processors.

At present, Intel has advanced packaging capacity in Oregon and New Mexico, and is actively expanding advanced packaging at a new facility in Penang. Moreover, Intel has said that opening up the option for customers to choose only its advanced packaging solutions makes it possible to give customers more production flexibility. Therefore, the news pointed out that after Nvidia chose to let Intel join in providing advanced packaging capacity, TSMC will still be Nvidia's main advanced packaging supplier in the future.

At present, TSMC is expanding its advanced packaging capacity, which is expected to increase to 50,000 pieces in the first quarter of 2024, an increase of 25% from the estimated nearly 40,000 pieces in December 2023. Therefore, in terms of the total number of capacity expansion between TSMC and other closed test partners, the total will supply more than 90% of Nvidia's advanced packaging capacity.

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