Intel to start manufacturing ARM chips

Intel to start manufacturing ARM chips
In a shocking move, Intel has decided to open up its industry-leading chip manufacturing facilities to none other than its arch-rival in mobile - ARM. The announcement comes from Intel partner Altera and was made during the ARM developer conference on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

Intel will open its fabs, the name used for the manufacturing plants, to make ARM’s 64-bit chips beginning next year.

This is important because Intel’s fabs are among the most advanced out there, capable of more precise manufacturing than rivals like TSMC and Global Foundries. That is why having ARM’s latest chips manufactured in Intel’s fabs sounds like a truly shocking and enticing proposition.

Chip making facilities are known as fabs and Intel has got state-of-the-art fabs that are capable of manufacturing the most advanced chips. Intel’s biggest competitors in the chip manufacturing space like TSMC still cannot quite match up Chipzilla’s expertise in the area.

Having Chipzilla manufacture silicon for its biggest rival ARM - as shocking as it is - does not mean surrender.

ARM is still the dominant chip maker in mobile, but with the battery-efficient Haswell the gap is much smaller. Intel is obviously hard at work at perfecting its mobile chips and will continue to stay competitive. At the same time, it also needs to fill up its fabs with orders since when the plants are not functioning at maximum capacity the company is simply losing money. So take this as Intel patching that money-bleed rather than surrendering to ARM in anyway.

This also means that Intel could be making the latest chips for Apple’s iPhones and iPads, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon series of mobile chips and Nvidia’s Tegra line. All those companies design their own chips, but rely on others for the actual manufacturing and the fabs.

source: Forbes



1. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Agreed - Intel is making up for orders lost from declining x86 business. Intel is not surrendering by a long shot.

9. TechBizJP08

Posts: 495; Member since: Mar 25, 2013

Why would intel give up? Although ARM is the leading Chip in the Mobile market. Intel is till advance in chip. They just need to polish up the Hasswell chipsets and make it power efficient just like the ARM.

12. T00muchF00D

Posts: 98; Member since: Nov 27, 2011

You really don't read do you?

15. cezarepc

Posts: 718; Member since: Nov 23, 2012

Intel is not surrendering. They're just seeing 64-bit ARM chips as a big something to worry about. Once they manufacture those for competition they'll be able to get 1st-hand access to their structure and thus have a slight advantage in the long run.

2. eisenbricher

Posts: 973; Member since: Aug 09, 2012

Content of article itself explains why Intel chose to do so. Actually this is a double benefit for Intel. First, they are minimizing the losses incurred because of reduced processor demand because of inevitable downfall of PC/Laptop market, keeping their fab running at full swing. Second, they must be betting on strong near future demand for their power efficient mobile chips. They can anytime stop accepting ARM orders and shift the balance to production of own chips. This ensures that their manufacturing line remains configured for best process (nm). Good luck, Intel.

4. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

Their cpus are already more power efficient than a15 cores, they are just to expensive right now for oems to justify switching.

3. mittalmailbox

Posts: 52; Member since: Feb 14, 2012

So exynos will not be only chip build at 14nm

7. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

This article is misleading, all intel is building is the Altera quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53 chips. This is for servers not phones/tablets.

20. renz4

Posts: 319; Member since: Aug 10, 2013

I don't why people thinking why intel will give the likes of apple, qualcomm or nvidia access to their fab since intel themselves were fighting to compete in the SoC market.

5. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

Intel is the king of processors!

6. mr.techdude

Posts: 571; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

No, Intel has the brains to make the best chips while ARM is the muscle that make the best chips. See the difference

8. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

Intel has both, they just lack in the GPU department. AMD needs to hurry up their apus will be king of cheap windows 8 tablets and actually be able to run most PC games on low-medium. Their new Kavari APUs are between a 7750 and a 7770 on integrated graphics and its about the same performance as a sandy bridge i5. They bought a ton of 14nm finfet for mobile/low power laptops and 20nm for laptop/desktop chips recently so lets hope 2014 is the year AMD beats intel again. 20nm octa core steamroller should wipe the floor with an i7 if one ever comes out.

10. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

Something smells fishy, I hope I'm wrong here, but they don't tell in the news if they will open ALL their fabs or just the n-1 node ones. In other words, this could be huge if they let the other use the 22nm fabs, but no really meaningfull if they only open the 32nm ones.

11. WindowsiDroid

Posts: 138; Member since: Jul 22, 2013

Intel will start manufacturing ARM Chips not for smarphone, It is only for server >.< PA get your topic right not wrong.

22. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

It's not even servers (that will be a competiror product), it's just FPGAs. I was pretty sure Intel didn't intended to share his high advace fabs with the comptetition: "Will we see real competitors and not just FPGA chips fabbed at Intel? Perhaps some day, but probably not in the short term."

13. kg4icg

Posts: 83; Member since: May 18, 2008

It is not surprising Intel is doing this. They said last year still under the leadership of Otellini that they would open up there excess fab capacity to others. This is something not to surprising at all.

14. dmn666

Posts: 244; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

The chips are FPGA cores though - not mobile processors. However, the chance seems higher now.

16. livyatan

Posts: 867; Member since: Jun 19, 2013

Hahaha, awesome. "Intel is going to dissARM the industry" More likely, it will help ARMing it up!

17. marbovo

Posts: 658; Member since: May 16, 2013

Hey Victor, one thing is not clear, Intel will make chips for another companies or they will launch a intel arm chip?

18. dmn666

Posts: 244; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

If I remember it correctly, intel used to have an ARM license back in 2007/2008 when they were working with Marvell. They didn't renew it afterwards - no sure if they did it again lately or not. But the chance is slim that they will make their own arm based chips after heavily investing in atom lines. So they will just work as a fab for other companies for now.

19. Ninetysix

Posts: 2966; Member since: Oct 08, 2012

I'm sure everyone is dying to know how well it'll do in offscreen benchmarks.

21. renz4

Posts: 319; Member since: Aug 10, 2013

You will see none of it since this is not a chip used in smartphone or tablet

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