Try not to panic but the world's largest chipmaker is booked up until 2024

TSMC wafers on top of one another
(Image credit: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd)

We've seen such a huge spike in demand for PC components recently that manufacturers having a hard time keeping up. Now it's surfaced that TSMC, the worlds largest semiconductor manufacturer, has had its entire flagship, 3nm wafer capacity reserved until 2024. 

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TSMC has invested around $71.4bn in these new chips, and according to sources (elchapuzasinformatico, hardwaretimes), it looks like the new process nodes will be coming in four waves. The majority of this first wave, which is limited to 55k units, will be handed out to Apple. After which, production will increase to 105K units, and will trickle down to AMD, NVIDIA, Xilinx, and Qualcomm.

But what about the boys in blue? Intel is looking to outsource to TSMC, but if the above is anything to go by, it certainly won't be getting priority on its 3nm production capabilities. Without a long-term partnership sweetening the deal, and thanks to only a small-middling demand from Intel, TSMC will consider the company only a "second-tier customer." As such, Intel may be stuck with 7nm and 5nm process nodes. 

I'm trying to mask my pain, but this year's not going well for us PC builders. And it's the underlying tech supply tribulations that are the reason for our misery.

In any case, Intel's CEO, Pat Gelsinger noted that most of its CPUs will be produced in-house from 2023 onwards, so hopefully the blue team won't have to rely on outsourcing the production of its mainstream CPUs to TSMC for long. 

Still, Intel will also be subject to the same shortages in other areas that are affecting manufacturers worldwide, so who can say how this will play out.

Katie Wickens
Hardware Writer

Screw sports, Katie would rather watch Intel, AMD and Nvidia go at it. Having been obsessed with computers and graphics for three long decades, she took Game Art and Design up to Masters level at uni, and has been rambling about games, tech and science—rather sarcastically—for four years since. She can be found admiring technological advancements, scrambling for scintillating Raspberry Pi projects, preaching cybersecurity awareness, sighing over semiconductors, and gawping at the latest GPU upgrades. Right now she's waiting patiently for her chance to upload her consciousness into the cloud.