In a product change notice, Intel stated that it will begin assembling Coffee Lake desktop CPUs at its plant located in Chengdu, China.
Since their launch, Coffee Lake desktop CPUs have been somewhat limited in availability. In an effort to help alleviate supply issues, Intel notified its customers that they will soon begin also receiving parts assembled in China. The change is effective for i5-8400, i5-8600K, i7-8700, and i7-8700K CPUs.
To be clear, this notification refers only to the assembly and test portion of the manufacturing process for these CPUs and not to the fabrication of the physical processor dies. Intel doesn’t limit the fabrication of specific chips to specific fabs, so the physical dies for these CPUs can already be coming from more than one place. Assembly and test for these CPUs, however, has so far been limited to Intel’s Malaysia plant. The addition of the Chengdu plant could imply that the assembly and binning process is actually a bottleneck in Coffee Lake’s production.
An interesting point in Intel’s notice is the reference to its Copy Exactly! methodology of manufacturing. This essentially strives to make it so that Intel’s products are exactly the same regardless of where they’re manufactured, which means that new Coffee Lake CPUs binned in Chengdu shouldn’t be any different from current ones. Given past forum debates, though, we wouldn’t be surprised if we soon see winners and losers of the silicon lottery picking favorites.