Intel to build advanced packaging facility in Malaysia

Following the fierce competition in advanced manufacturing processes, Intel, TSMC, and Samsung have broadened their battlefield to the domain of 3D advanced packaging. Recently, each has commenced novel strategic deployments, crafting increasingly sophisticated packaging technologies. Central to this is Intel, ardently executing its IDM 2.0 strategy, which has recently unveiled its packaging and testing plans in Malaysia.

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According to DigiTimes, Intel’s APJ General Manager, Steven Long, conveyed that Intel is accelerating its foray into the advanced packaging sector. Following their ventures in Oregon and New Mexico, USA, expansion of the packaging and testing facilities in Malaysia is underway. It is anticipated to commence production next year. By the end of 2025, the production capacity for Foveros 3D advanced packaging in the three phases of their facility is projected to quadruple from its 2023 levels. Intel’s semiconductor investments in Malaysia aren’t novel; they boast a rich history spanning over half a century.

Given that advanced manufacturing processes are nearing their physical limits, cutting-edge packaging technologies might soon dictate the victors in semiconductor manufacturing. Foundries are keen on offering comprehensive services spanning both front-end and back-end processes, heavily investing in pioneering 2.5/3D packaging technologies and thus side-lining traditional packaging and testing factories like ASE. TSMC, for instance, has consistently secured a myriad of orders for advanced packagings, such as NVIDIA’s H100 GPU, which adopts the CoWoS packaging. Even when faced with limited production capabilities, other manufacturers can only clinch a fraction of the orders.

Last year, TSMC initiated the 3D Fabric alliance, aimed at delivering top-tier solutions and services across semiconductor design, memory modules, substrate technology, testing, manufacturing, and packaging. AMD’s forthcoming range of chips, featuring the Chiplet design, will be mass-produced at TSMC using the SoIC combined with CoWoS. Additionally, Apple is mapping out a packaging solution that combines SoIC with InFO, with mass production anticipated by 2025, also to be overseen by TSMC.

It’s understood that Intel has already invested 8 billion US dollars in Malaysia, with plans for an additional 60 billion in the next phase. This would facilitate the construction of another 3D advanced packaging facility and a testing factory. Currently, Amazon AWS has emerged as the premier client to employ Intel’s Foundry Services (IFS) packaging solutions. Collaborations with EDA giant Synopsys are also underway to better serve Intel’s 3/18A process node. Intel has culminated in its packaging to integrate optical signal transmission, wherein optical components connect via EMIB, thereby enhancing bandwidth and reducing power consumption.