Intel to manufacture 22nm FPGA chips for third-party

By on November 3, 2010, 7:35 AM
Intel has traditionally designed and built chips for its own use, but it looks like the company is ready to share its manufacturing strengths and lead in process technology with others. Namely, the company will create chips based on its 22nm technology for Achronix Semiconductor -- a relatively small player in the field-programmable gate array (FPGA) market making specialized chips for sectors like networking, communications and high-performance computing.

FPGAs are integrated circuits that can be programmed after they've been manufactured, allowing customers to adapt them for their own needs. The manufacturing arrangement will get underway in late 2011, and Achronix is touting Intel’s technology as a way for the company to deliver a 300% performance increase in its chips, while requiring 50% less power and costing 40% less to build compared to the 28nm technology the company is currently using from TSMC.

Intel was quick to point out that the production volume will be “significantly less than 1%” of their total production volume, and at least for the time being it doesn’t look like the company is gunning for GlobalFoundries and TSMC’s contract manufacturing business. Instead, Bright Side of News suggests, it’s all about the future of Atom.

According to the site’s sources Intel is going to introduce a "fully configurable Intel Atom Processor" codenamed Stellarton next year. Essentially, Stellarton is a dual die package consisting out of a 45nm Atom E600 processor and a FPGA module. By partnering up with Achronix the company will get enough experience in the field of 22nm FPGA chip manufacturing to apply on its own products and reach out to other vendors further down the road.




User Comments: 15

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kaonis92 said:

Any reasons intel is still planning to use 45nm for future Atom proccessors?

Guest said:

Good for them, now if only lightpeak could maybe appear sometime soon.

edison5do said:

INTEL really have a bussiness-oriented mind, and they are showing it.

Staff
Jesse Jesse said:

kaonis92 said:

Any reasons intel is still planning to use 45nm for future Atom proccessors?

Good question... that doesn't seem to make any sense in the context of the article. When they say that they will apply the experience gained from manufacturing 22nm chips to their own products, I would expect them to make a 22nm Atom.

blimp01 said:

Sounds like a great improvement, 300% boost in performance! id go for that

spyx said:

Intel "Sponsers of tomorrow".............ugh what I really want is a unified design so you dont have to buy a new motherboard every single time i want ot upgrade....

lipe123 said:

They are making 22nm FPGA's not CPU's.

I think FPGA's are vastly less complex than a fully featured CPU, if they could make 22nm CPU's they would be light years ahead of current tech.

sMILEY4ever said:

Achronix Semiconductor: "Intel, marry me".

Anyways, awesome deal for Achronix Semiconductor.

Puiu Puiu said:

I don't see any future in the Atom CPU with ARM becoming more and more powerful and cheaper.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

They are making 22nm FPGA's not CPU's.

I think FPGA's are vastly less complex than a fully featured CPU, if they could make 22nm CPU's they would be light years ahead of current tech.

Light years.....

How about 22nm risk wafers last year ? Just as proof of concept you understand.

Of course, for retail release you need to build a 22nm fab or 2.

How about 22nm CPU (Ivy Bridge) availabillity within a year -a regular year that is (time period), not a measure of distance (i.e. light year).

@kaonis92, prismatics...

Why die shrink Atom (as it is) ? It is already a low power (0.65 - 13w) low cost processor. A die shrink isn't going to alter this greatly. Moreover using an older process keeps those older fabrication plants open - churning out product whose fixed costs were amortized when the process was cutting edge.

Stellarton is 45nm because it is process node that can be used now. Atom's successor (once the fabs are built) will be using the 22nm process:

Intel will manufacture Acrhonix Speedster22i FPGA using the most advanced process when the time is due for introduction of 22nm successor of 45nm Stellarton

klepto12 klepto12, TechSpot Paladin, said:

No 22nm atom how does that make sense? lets keep using 2 year old tech when we have this yeah that sounds great. Intel is a great company and i for one love there cpu's but i wish AMD would bring something out to make them wake up from there we are the best ever state of mind and actually make something for the consumer like amd does who wants to pay $1000 for a 6 core cpu when amd has them for less than $300 hmmmmm...........

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

No 22nm atom how does that make sense? lets keep using 2 year old tech when we have this yeah that sounds great. Intel is a great company and i for one love there cpu's but i wish AMD would bring something out to make them wake up from there we are the best ever state of mind and actually make something for the consumer like amd does who wants to pay $1000 for a 6 core cpu when amd has them for less than $300 hmmmmm...........

Sorry klepto I had to keep that post for posterity just in case you found someone with higher education skills to edit, punctuate and grammaticize the post.

If you read the story and follow the links already outlined you will see that Intel already has the next generation Atom earmarked for 22nm. This will probably happen when the facilities for making 22nm wafers (the big ~300mm discs that contain the IC's) are actually built.

So to summarize the rest of your post- assuming the Google translation of Backwoods to English is correct:

You love Intel CPU's but their hexacore is too expensive for you...You don't love AMD quite so much, but their hexacore is much cheaper.

A massive dilemma to be sure...an analogy would likely be:

Your neighbour updates his pickup truck every year and presently needs to hose off Raccoon body parts from his nice new 2010 Ford F-150 SVT. Your neighbour pays a hefty premium for the new vehicle partly because of new tooling and dies needed for every update and facelift. You on the other hand get to open the trailer window curtains and gaze upon your once proud, but now long-in-the-tooth 1969 Ford F-150. Still a pickup, right?, Still going to get you to and from the liquor store (once it comes down off the blocks), and a helluva lot cheaper to buy. Progress has it's price, as does consumer brand perception and subsequent placement within the marketplace...which is one reason why the F-150 shares the same roads (at least the paved ones) with the Bentley Continental GT.

white2010 said:

i think intel can not handle all the demand so intel share with others this technology

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

@white2010

It's a process node (22nm), not something Intel has patented. Global Foundries also has 22nm in the works (2012-13 timeframe). Likewise TSMC has 20nm planned as the follow on from 28nm (which should debut in six months or so)

hitech0101 said:

Manufacturing for third party is good but they need to manufacture some for themselves that's how they it can reach the global market.

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