Intel opens foundry to ARM-based chips

Intel will build chips based on ARM designs at its own foundry, after sealing an agreement with component manufacturer Altera.

Intel opens foundry to ARM-based chips

Altera will incorporate ARM’s 64-bit, quad-core Cortex A53 cores into its upcoming Stratix 10 FPGA system-on-a-chip, but will fabricate the processors on Intel’s 14nm process.

This will be the first time ARM’s 64-bit architecture will be paired with Intel’s 14nm transistor technology.

“It’s huge,” Insight 64 analyst Nathan Brookwood told Forbes. “Imagine ARM’s most powerful and technologically advanced 64-bit processor built on Intel’s leading-edge fabs. A duo that will be hard to beat.”

However, Altera doesn’t focus on the consumer market, so the agreement doesn’t signal that Intel’s given up its ambitions in mobile.

An Intel spokesperson told PC Pro that the company was open to manufacturing “competitive architectures”, and that it evaluates opportunities on a case-by-case basis.

The spokesperson also pointed out that this isn’t the first time Intel has agreed to fabricate chips based on ARM’s designs, since it started producing Netronome’s ARM-based network flow processors on its 22nm node last year.

Altera, which supplies the military, automotive and high-end PC industries, boasted that the combination will help deliver “breakthrough levels of performance”.

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