The global supply of AI chips from the major GPU manufacturer NVIDIA is currently insufficient, primarily due to the inadequate CoWoS advanced packaging capacity provided by their partner TSMC. Even with TSMC’s commitment to expansion, it is expected that the capacity increase will not be available until at least the end of the year, relieving some of the supply pressure. In response to this, there are reports in the market that Intel is also joining the ranks of providers for NVIDIA’s advanced packaging, with a monthly capacity of approximately 5,000 units. The earliest time frame for this is the second quarter of 2024.
According to Intel’s previous statements, their current advanced packaging technologies are mainly divided into two categories: the 2.5D EMIB (Embedded Multi-die Interconnect Bridge, a horizontal integration packaging technology) and the 3D Foveros (utilizing heterogeneous stacked logic for computation, enabling stacking of various logic chips together). Firstly, the 2.5D EMIB is primarily used for integrating logic operation chips with high-bandwidth memory. The Intel Xeon Max series and Intel Data Center GPU Max series already incorporate EMIB packaging technology.
As for the more advanced 3D Foveros packaging technology, it allows the top-level chip to no longer be constrained by the size of the base chip, and it can carry more top-level and base-level chips. This is achieved by directly connecting the top-level chip to the substrate through copper pillars, reducing the number of Through-Silicon Vias (TSVs) and the potential interference they may cause. This technology will be integrated into upcoming processor series such as Meteor Lake, Arrow Lake, and Lunar Lake.
Currently, Intel has advanced packaging capacity in Oregon and New Mexico in the United States and is actively expanding its advanced packaging at a new factory in Penang. Intel has also expressed openness to allowing customers to exclusively use its advanced packaging solutions, aiming to provide customers with greater production flexibility. Therefore, reports indicate that even after Intel joins as a provider of advanced packaging capacity for NVIDIA, TSMC will still remain NVIDIA’s primary supplier of advanced packaging.
TSMC is currently expanding its advanced packaging capacity, and it is expected that by the first quarter of 2024, the monthly capacity will increase to 50,000 units, representing an approximate 25% increase from the estimated nearly 40,000 units in December 2023. As a result, when combined with the capacity expansion of TSMC and other packaging and testing partners, the total supply capacity for NVIDIA’s advanced packaging is projected to reach over 90%.
(Image source: Intel)