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AMD, Nvidia Shut Out as Intel Eyes $52 Billion CHIPS Act Windfall

Wafer
(Image credit: Intel)

Intel has made a big stink about the $52 billion CHIPS Act, which would bolster the domestic production of semiconductors. Taiwan Semiconductor Inc. (TSMC) has become the dominant force globally in the contract chipmaking sector, and Intel is keen on regaining the market share that it has lost in recent decades. If the CHIPS Act passes, Intel will move forward with an initial investment of $20 billion into a new Ohio "mega site" fab (up to $100 billion could eventually be invested in the site).

But some in the U.S. semiconductor industry feel that the version of the CHIPS Act, which is set to be voted on as early as tomorrow by the Senate, unfairly benefits Intel. According to Reuters, the $52 billion in subsidies and tax benefits afforded by the bill will provide the bulk of the benefits to companies like Intel. Intel designs and manufactures the majority of its semiconductors, and the CHIPS Act heavily favors offsetting the cost of building new fabs in the U.S. Other major U.S.-based companies that design and manufacture their own chips include Micron and Texas Instruments.

A separate FABS Act (which has bipartisan support) would offer up to a 25% tax credit for the construction of fabs and the manufacturing equipment necessary to operate the facilities. 

Intel Ohio Mega Site

(Image credit: Intel)

However, Intel's most direct competition in the client computing, graphics, and server/HPC markets comes from AMD and NVIDIA. While AMD and NVIDIA are U.S.-based and design their own microprocessors, they contract outside firms like TSMC and Samsung to produce their chips. As a result, they wouldn't be able to reap the full benefits of the $52 billion windfall from the U.S. government.

The U.S. House of Representatives is currently debating a version of the FABS Act that would be more beneficial to companies like AMD and NVIDIA, as it would offer tax incentives also covering aspects of semiconductor design. However, even if those provisions were added, Intel still stands to gain the most from the CHIPS and FABS Acts than its peers.

"You have Intel that might get $20 billion with CHIPS Act plus $5 billion or $10 billion under the FABS Act," said an official for one unnamed Intel competitor that is opposed to the soon-to-be-voted upon version of the CHIPS and FABS Acts. "So, $30 billion goes to your direct competitor, and you don't get a penny? That's going to cause problems in the market."

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger has aggressively pushed for the CHIPS Act to pass, and has even threatened to back out of the Ohio fab if the package fails. "We've made super clear to McConnell, to the Democrats, to the Republicans, that if this doesn't pass, I will change my plans," Gelsinger said last week. "The Europeans have moved forward very aggressively, and they're ready to give us the incentives that allow us to move forward." 

Gelsinger is referencing $43 billion in subsidies that the European Union is offering to support local manufacturing.

 

Brandon Hill is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware. He has written about PC and Mac tech since the late 1990s with bylines at AnandTech, DailyTech, and Hot Hardware. When he is not consuming copious amounts of tech news, he can be found enjoying the NC mountains or the beach with his wife and two sons.

  • gggplaya
    Does no one else know about TSMC's FAB 21 being built in Arizona??? I'm sure it's one of the reason's Intel is building a fab in az as well.
    Reply
  • Eximo
    Intel already has several fabs in Arizona. More likely TSMC is building there because there are already established suppliers for the types of chemicals and materials needed to make integrated circuits.
    Reply
  • Liquidrider
    Didn't Intel buy up a bunch of TSMC supply? And then on top of it flip flopped on their china stance? Wait didn't they also release their new GPU to China Only?

    Intel already receives billions in government subsidies and tax breaks while AMD & Nvidia receive practically nothing. Absolutely insane congress is giving Intel another handout
    Reply
  • gggplaya
    Liquidrider said:
    Didn't Intel buy up a bunch of TSMC supply? And then on top of it flip flopped on their china stance? Wait didn't they also release their new GPU to China Only?

    Intel already receives billions in government subsidies and tax breaks while AMD & Nvidia receive practically nothing. Absolutely insane congress is giving Intel another handout

    Compare Intel vs AMD campaign spending and you'll see why that is.

    Here's Intel's spending, interesting that they donated to both Joe Biden and Donald Trump, who does that??? Why donate to both candidates unless you don't care who wins, only that they'll remember who gave you all that money? Obviously for favors and influence like this! https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/intel-corp/summary?id=D000000804
    Here's AMD's spending it's very little comparatively: https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/advanced-micro-devices/summary?id=D000023765
    Same with Nvidia, they spend comparatively very little: https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/nvidia-corp/summary?id=D000036303
    Reply
  • Metteec
    Conversely, AMD and NVIDIA could also fab their own chips in the USA and get a piece of the action, but they continue to use TSMC. While TSMC has fabs in Arizona, the parent company is located in Taiwan. Depending on the outcome in Ukraine, TSMC could be in crosshairs of a hostile takeover by Beijing. An absence of sufficient semiconductors in the USA is a consumer and national security disaster. Strong US semiconductor manufacturing provides insurance against these supply chain and intellectual property issues that would occur from a Chinese takeover of TSMC, and $52 billion is rather inexpensive to foster innovation, new jobs, and competition. Intel's new US-based fab will create 3000 permanent engineering, technical and administrative jobs, not to mention 7000 construction jobs.
    Reply
  • Eximo
    Liquidrider said:
    Didn't Intel buy up a bunch of TSMC supply? And then on top of it flip flopped on their china stance? Wait didn't they also release their new GPU to China Only?

    Intel already receives billions in government subsidies and tax breaks while AMD & Nvidia receive practically nothing. Absolutely insane congress is giving Intel another handout


    Intel is doing a slow roll out. The GPUs were built in Asia, so they got to market first to meet their release 'deadline'. The ones headed here were sent by ship, which takes a while and then through customs. They've been ramping up press lately so you should see GPUs on the shelves, probably before the end of the month would be my guess.

    US reviewers have gotten their hands on the A380 and A750 so far.
    Reply
  • thestryker
    I saw this report and rolled my eyes. Intel hardly needs the money either, but if they build fabs in the US that's a benefit in terms of jobs and future sector growth (ex: Ohio is seeing several suppliers coming with Intel) versus just getting a handout which is what the others seem to want.

    As for comparing Intel to AMD and Nvidia: Intel already has around 50k US based employees and while I couldn't find US totals for the other two AMD has around 15.5k and Nvidia has around 22.5k worldwide. It's fair to say that the number of US based is a good amount lower than those figures and giving them a handout wouldn't change anything here.
    Reply
  • bigdragon
    I really hate handouts to huge corporations. We can provide plenty of pork to Intel and other companies, but struggle to maintain the health, nutritional, and housing needs of our people. Intel doesn't need the handout. They're rich and profitable enough already. There are better ways to spend this money.

    However, getting more fabs built in the US is a huge priority. There should be several fabrication hubs spread around the globe. Concentrating everything in Taiwan was a huge mistake -- one pushed by greedy companies that are peers to Intel. The needs and complaints of companies that helped get us into this supply chain mess and single point of production failure have zero business making any noise about being left out. Ignore them. Keep the focus on building out more fabs here, not rewarding designers who shipped their designs off to cheaper production facilities.
    Reply
  • kjfatl
    The purpose of the bill is to encourage US manufacturing of IC's AMD and Nividia have the option of getting a US supplier to mate their parts., AMD and Nividia chose to get out of, or never enter the semiconductor fab business. AMD and Nividia could partner with Samsung, Micron, Global Foundries, or even Intel to get back in the Fab business.

    Isn't TSMC getting money from this as well?
    Reply
  • JeffreyP55
    gggplaya said:
    Does no one else know about TSMC's FAB 21 being built in Arizona??? I'm sure it's one of the reason's Intel is building a fab in az as well.
    I live in Phoenix moving here from the SFBA (silicon valley) to here. Not many have techie skills. Mostly medical, fast food and department stores. Unless workers are imported from wherever. There will be intense. training.
    https://www.tomshardware.com/news/tsmcs-arizona-fab-construction-emerges-at-breakneck-speed
    Reply