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Intel has partnered with UK chip designer Arm to develop low-power chips through Intel Foundry Services (IFS).



The collaboration will see chip designers creating low-power system-on-chips (SoCs) using the Intel 18A process.

The initial focus will be on mobile SoC designs, although there is potential to expand into other applications. That could include data centre, automotive, Internet of Things (IoT), aerospace and government applications.

Intel’s support for Arm licensees will go beyond wafer production to encompass areas like packaging, software and chiplets. Intel says it aims to provide a solution for companies who want their Arm designs produced by a single provider.

The announcement of IFS in March 2021 came as a surprise to some within the industry, given that Intel’s new service involves producing chips for other companies.

IFS aims to become the second-largest foundry in the world by revenue.

Samsung currently holds the number two spot just behind TSMC. Intel will need to work with multiple large companies to achieve its goal, not just Arm.

The Intel-Arm deal involves collaboration on design technology co-optimisation, which aims to optimise chip design and process manufacturing for improved power, performance and cost of Arm-based cores using Intel 18A technology.

Intel 18A incorporates two new technologies: PowerVia for efficient power delivery and RibbonFET “gate all around” transistor architecture for optimal performance and power.

Intel will manufacture 18A chips in the United States and Europe.

“There is growing demand for computing power driven by the digitisation of everything, but until now fabless customers have had limited options for designing around the most advanced mobile technology,” said Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger.

“Intel’s collaboration with Arm will expand the market opportunity for IFS and open up new options and approaches for any fabless company that wants to access best-in-class CPU IP and the power of an open system foundry with leading-edge process technology.”

Arm, a major supplier of IP to many chip makers, especially in mobile phones, is owned by Japanese tech investor SoftBank Group. The company plans to go public later this year.

Last month we covered the news that Arm is considering raising the prices of its chip designs, particularly its Cortex-A designs that are common in smartphone processors.

Industry executives and former employees told the FT that Arm has already informed several customers about its revised pricing strategy.

Arm announced record revenues for its first financial quarter, which ended in June 2022, making it one of the few bright spots for SoftBank Group.

Pat Gelsinger said last year that Intel was willing to join a consortium to acquire Arm from SoftBank, after Nvidia’s proposed merger with Arm failed.

Intel reported a net loss of $664 million for its fourth quarter, ended 31st December 2022, compared to a profit of $4.62 billion in Q4’21. Gelsinger said at the time that the company would continue to overcome short-term issues while pursuing long-term goals in 2023.

Intel continues to dominate the markets for PC and server processor chips, with a market share of more than 70%, according to IDC. However, this is down from over 90% in 2017.

Intel’s primary competitor is AMD, which has been gaining market share under the leadership of CEO Lisa Su. Intel is also facing competition from Nvidia, which is now venturing into the CPU market from its traditional GPU expertise.

Source: Computing   Author: Dev Kundaliya