Intel is making a brand new push into the foundry enterprise, which is able to contain manufacturing customized pc chips for tech firms and Western governments.
The information means Intel may find yourself constructing ARM chips for Qualcomm and Apple—assuming it might win them over as clients. It is going to additionally put Intel in nearer competitors with the 2 largest foundries available in the market, TSMC and Samsung, which additionally construct chips for AMD and Nvidia.
Intel beforehand dabbled into the foundry enterprise in 2013. However the firm’s new CEO, Pat Gelsinger, mentioned this time the corporate sees a large alternative, pointing to the worldwide scarcity for pc chips, most of that are at the moment made in Asia.
Credit score: Intel
“Intel is in a singular place to rise to the event and meet this rising demand whereas guaranteeing a sustainable and safe provide of semiconductors for the world,” Gelsinger mentioned on Tuesday.
The newly introduced “Intel Foundry Companies” will initially construct semiconductors utilizing the corporate’s older 22-nanometer manufacturing processes. However the plan is to finally improve the manufacturing to Intel’s extra superior 7nm course of and past. To take action, the corporate is spending $20 billion to construct two new factories at Intel’s current campus in Chandler, Arizona.
Intel’s campus in Arizona (Credit score: Intel)
The corporate’s foundry enterprise will likely be able to manufacturing semiconductors constructed with the x86 structure, ARM and RISC-V. And in keeping with Gelsinger, firms together with Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Qualcomm have all expressed curiosity in Intel’s foundry mannequin.
Throughout a Q&A session, Gelsinger additionally talked about Apple, which not too long ago ditched Intel’s Core processors for its personal ARM-based chips. “We can even pursue clients like Apple and say, ‘Boy, is it doable we may construct and broaden in your foundry capabilities as effectively?’” he mentioned.
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The opposite alternative includes constructing chips for the US and European governments, which have additionally expressed sturdy curiosity in Intel’s foundry enterprise, in keeping with Gelsinger. Final month, President Biden signed an government order to assist make sure the US chip provide chain is not turning into too reliant on international suppliers.
Regardless of the brand new foundry enterprise, Intel itself is definitely going to contract extra chip manufacturing to TSMC and Samsung. That will sound unusual. But it surely’s been no secret Intel’s personal chip expertise has stalled on repeated delays. TSMC, alternatively, has been steadily enhancing its chip designs, which has now reached a 5nm course of.
Gelsinger mentioned the corporate will proceed to churn out nearly all of its product in Intel fabs. Nonetheless, Intel plans on additionally tapping third-party foundries to buttress sure merchandise. This contains “manufacturing for a spread of modular tiles on superior course of applied sciences, together with merchandise on the core of Intel’s computing choices for each shopper and knowledge middle segments starting in 2023,” the corporate added.