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Intel to produce Altera FPGAs via 14nm tri-gate tech

Posted: 27 Feb 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:FPGAs? tri-gate transistor? manufacturing?

Altera Corporation and Intel announced this week that they have entered a manufacturing pact enabling the production of FPGAs using the chip maker's 14nm tri-gate transistor technology. The move signals that another effort on Intel's part to establish itself as a foundry business.

"These next-generation products, which target ultra high-performance systems for military, wireline communications, cloud networking, and compute and storage applications, will enable breakthrough levels of performance and power efficiencies not otherwise possible," according to Intel's press release.

Intel aims to steamroll competition beyond 20nm
Although ARM currently has an advantage in low power processing, Intel believes that it will eventually surpass them if they continue to advance in process technology. Intel is currently biding its time, with the semi giant appearing quite prepared to wait a couple of generations until sub 20nm nodes are breached before bringing the battle of low power processing to ARM and its mobile partners. Read full story here.

There were speculations last year concerning Intel's shifting focus to its foundry services. During the International Electronics Forum held in Slovakia, John Lofton Holt of Achronix hinted at the possibility that Intel has started or will start to make chips for Cisco. If such a deal did exist, it could be worth as much as $1 billion. Most of Cisco's silicon right now is at the 40nm level with a number of 28nm chip designs in the pipeline. But Intel is known to have been offering its 22nm FinFET process as a foundry option for some time. (See Cisco rumoured to be in a foundry deal with Intel.)

EE Times' Rick Merritt also makes a case on how Intel should focus less on microprocessor design and more on manufacturing chips for other companies. He notes that the chip maker has a huge position with the x86 today and is doing a reasonable job playing catch up in the new game of SoCs. He quotes Jim Turley of Silicon Insider, "Intel needs a piece of good news, something that shows they have caught on to next-generation products, not hoping PCs will make a comeback." (See Analysis: Intel as foundry for Apple, Cisco.)

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