Achronix turns to fashion bag maker Intel to make chips

Fashion bag maker Intel has started releasing chips for other outfits under its new build-to-order service and Achronix can lay claim to have silicon which was actually made in the USA.

Those of you who think that the US is still a world manufacturing leader might be surprised to learn that most chips are made in Asia. Intel also makes shedloads of chips in Israel.

Achronix asked Intel to make some of its chip designs in 2010 and the outfit is one of two publicly announced users of the new Intel foundry business.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Intel believes it can make smaller and more sophisticated transistors than other foundries and Achronix makes programmable chips that use lots of transistors.

Its chips include models with six billion transistors, consume half the power of competing chips and cost about half as much, Achronix claims.

Samples are being shipped now and, when extended testing is completed, will be shipping them in volume in the third quarter.

Robert Blake, the company’s president and chief executive officer, said that Achronix is quick to point out that the entire process of making its chips is handled in the United States.

The chips are fabricated in Oregan then shipped to facilities in Arizona for packaging.

While it might be slightly more expensive, it is not such a bad move because there is pressure on government agencies and some companies to “buy local”.   By making sure the chips are made in the US, Achronix has its foot in the door with some lucrative contracts.

Its sales teams can say that the chips are as American as Apple Pie, the Stars and Stripes and high school massacres. They can rule out any secret “back doors” or other features that could be exploited by foreign intelligence agencies.

Intel and Achronix are not the only ones who are trying that. Globalfoundries has new manufacturing facilities near Albany, and this has been cited as a key selling point.

Intel has identified another programmable-chip startup, Tabula, as a customer of its foundry services. It also says it has other customers who choose not to be identified yet.