MEMS and Sensors

Multigenerational agreement signed between Arm and Intel Foundry

13 April 2023

Intel Corp. and Arm have signed a multigeneration agreement for chip designers to build low-power compute system-on-chips (SoCs) on Intel’s 18 A process technology.

The collaboration will focus on mobile SoC designs initially but will then expand to other markets including:

  • Automotive
  • Internet of things
  • Data centers
  • Aerospace
  • Government applications

Under the deal, Intel Foundry Services (IFS) and Arm will design technology co-optimization (DTCO) in which chip design and process technologies are optimized together to improve power, performance, area and cost (PPAC) for Arm cores targeting Intel 18 A process technology.

The 18 A process technology uses PowerVia for power delivery and RibbonFET gate all around (GAA) transistor architecture for power and performance, Intel said.

Intel’s strategy

Intel has been working on three major goals as part of its so-called IDM 2.0.

First, the company will scale manufacturing as part of a key competitive advantage in the supply chain. This means continuing to manufacture most of its products internally. Intel is also developing a 7 nm process node driven by extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography. Additionally, the company seeks to reach lower process nodes quickly to catch up with TSMC and Samsung.

Secondly, Intel will build on its existing relationships with third-party foundries, which manufacture communications, connectivity, graphics and chipsets for Intel.

Third will be to expand its IFS. Already, Intel has signed up Amazon, Qualcomm and MediaTek to its IFS and will continue to pursue U.S.- and European-based fabless companies to bring further competition to the semiconductor manufacturing space. As part of IFS, Intel acquired Tower Semiconductor to boost its portfolio of chip manufacturing for areas such as automotive electronic components that use more mature process nodes.

New fabs

To expand capacity for foundry services that will be used for U.S.- and European fabless companies, Intel is building new fabs for future semiconductor manufacturing.

Last year, Intel announced it would build two additional fabs at its Ocotillo campus in Chandler, Arizona, and would invest $20 billion to expand capacity for its new Intel Foundry Services, a new division that would woo European and U.S. fabless companies to have their semiconductors manufactured by Intel.

At the Arizona fab, Intel signed a chip manufacturing agreement with Brookfield Asset Management that will help Intel to jointly invest $30 billion at the campus with Intel funding 51% and Brookfield funding 49%.

Meanwhile, Intel broke ground on the fabs located in Licking County, Ohio, in August, the first brand-new manufacturing site Intel has built in the U.S. in decades. Intel said it would spend about $20 billion on the new fabs.

At the Magdeburg location, Intel pledged to invest $18.6 billion for a mega-site as part of a spending spree that will cover some $87 billion over the next decade and numerous countries. In addition to the fabs in Germany, Intel will create a new design hub in France, a back-end packaging and assembly plant in Italy and expand foundry services in Poland, Ireland and Spain.

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