The first day of Intel's Developer Forum in San Francisco yielded big news as the company announced a new manufacturing licensing deal with ARM that will allow third parties to manufacture ARM-based chips on Intel's 10nm FinFET process. Under the deal, ARM will make its Artisan Physical IP available on the process.
The news will likely propel Intel's Custom Foundry business to new heights as it will enable the division to take on other foundry players like Samsung, TSMC and GlobalFoundries in a grander way. LG Electronics will be one of the first to build a mobile platform based on Intel's 10nm design platform, and analysts are looking forward whether Intel can lure bigger fish like Apple or Qualcomm. But it's going to be interesting to see if Intel can compete in terms of wafer cost as it typically places a higher priority on performance.
The 10nm process is still under development but Intel manufacturing fellow Mark Bohr is confident it will feature the tightest gate path any company will have in production for several years.
Interestingly, Intel also said it has already started making its next-generation chips on a 14+ node that promises 12 percent better performance. At the 10nm node, Intel expects to deliver 10+ and 10++ variants over time.
Here's some more background information written by Intel's Zane Ball:
By 2020, just four years from now, we expect to see 50 billion connected devices1 generating more than two zettabytes of data traffic annually2. That dramatic growth means increasing opportunities for our foundry business, and, more important, for our customers and partners.
Our Intel Custom Foundry team is helping customers around the world by providing access to Intel’s technology and manufacturing assets through turnkey services including design, wafer manufacturing, packaging and testing. We’re enabling new products and experiences on Intel’s leading-edge technologies with industry standard design kits, silicon-proven IP blocks, and design services spanning from low-power SOCs to high-performance infrastructure devices.
And we’re not done yet. At our Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco today, we shared the latest news about how we’re supporting customers and expanding our capabilities.
Over time, Intel Custom Foundry has developed full-featured design platforms on Intel’s 22 nm, 14 nm and our forthcoming 10 nm FinFET process, offering our customers an unprecedented combination of performance and energy efficiency compared to previous state-of-the-art transistors. Our 10 nm technology will provide improvements in transistor scaling and offer new performance, power and cost benefits as well as a wide range of device features to meet different product requirements.
In addition to expanding design platforms, our EDA and IP ecosystem has also been growing over the past few years, as evidenced by the EDA enablement and certification announcements with partners such as ANSYS, Cadence, Mentor Graphics and Synopsys. Intel has partnered with IP companies such as Cadence and Synopsys for the development of foundational and advanced IP over various technology nodes.
Today, we are furthering these ecosystem efforts with new foundational IP that our customers can use. Our 10 nm design platform for foundry customers will now offer access to ARM® Artisan® physical IP, including POP™ IP, based on the most advanced ARM cores and Cortex series processors. Optimizing this technology for Intel’s 10 nm process means that foundry customers can take advantage of the IP to achieve best-in-class PPA (power, performance, area) for power-efficient, high-performance implementations of their designs for mobile, IoT and other consumer applications.
The ARM Artisan platform includes:
High Performance and High Density Logic Libraries
POP IP (for future ARM premium mobile cores)
Having leading IP providers in our portfolio will accelerate ecosystem readiness while providing greater flexibility and time-to-market advantages to our customers.
Building on this work, today at IDF I also shared some exciting success stories from a few of our diverse customers:
LG Electronics will produce a world-class mobile platform based on Intel Custom Foundry’s 10 nm design platform. We’re pleased to welcome them as a customer.
Spreadtrum is designing on Intel’s 14 nm foundry platform.
Achronix Semiconductor is in production on its Intel 22 nm Speedster 22i HD1000 networking silicon.
Netronome is in production on its Intel 22 nm networking silicon – NFP-6480.
Altera is using our foundry platform to build the first true 14 nm FPGA, which offers
unprecedented advances in PPA.
These and other customers are working today with Intel Custom Foundry to build the product experiences of tomorrow. I’m proud that our unmatched technological capabilities and services are enabling us to partner with visionary companies to shape a smart and connected world.
Zane Ball is vice president in the Technology and Manufacturing Group and co-general manager of Intel Custom Foundry at Intel Corporation.