Intel becomes a mini foundry

Chip giant Intel is to make semiconductors for a startup firm called Achronix Semiconductor.

Achronix said that Intel will build the FPGA (field programmable gate arrays) Speedster22i family using its 22 nanometre process technology.

The company designs FPGA semiconductors and claims that combining a 22 nanometre process will give its FPGAs 300 percent higher performance using 50 percent less power and with a 40 percent cost.

Intel does not normally take on a foundry role and it will be interesting to see how companies like TSMC and GlobalFoundries will react to the competition from the Santa Clara giant.

It isn’t the first time that Intel has built chips for other companies – in the 1990s it helped Hewlett Packard out by manufacturing PA Risc chips, while it still has to build Alpha processors – originally designed by DEC, in order to fulfil federal contracts that still have some years to run.

Intel still has to roll out its own semiconductors using 22 nanometre process technology, and hasn’t taken a stake in Achronix.