Intel to fab chips for startups, including RISC-V designs
6 min read
Intel has launched "Intel Foundry Services" to fab chips for startups, including designs based on SiFive's RISC-V IP. IFS is part of Intel's "IDM 2.0" reboot, which includes a $20 billion investment in new foundries. Intel also launched 11th Gen Rocket Lake-S.
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Intel has formally launched Intel Foundry Services (IFS) to offer fabrication services to US and European chip startups using x86, Arm, and RISC-V architectures. Leading RISC-V IP vendor SiFive followed up by announcing that IFS will help customers manufacture processors based on its RISC-V architecture SiFive Core IP. This is more good news for RISC-V along with MIPS turning to RISC-V and the European Processor Initiative booting Linux on its RISC-V design (see farther below).

IFS will be a standalone business unit led by industry veteran Randhir Thakur, who will report directly to Gelsinger. The foundry business will provide industry standard design tools (EDA tools) and workflows from Cadence and Synopsys. An AnandTech report says that previous efforts at farming out Intel's foundry services have been hampered by Intel's practice of limiting customer access to its complex, customized software tools for silicon design process.

Intel's new CEO Pat Gelsinger announced the launch of IFS as part of an IDM (Integrated Device Manufacturing) 2.0 initiative. The IDM 2.0 push will include an estimated $20 billion investment in fabrication, including building two new chip factories in Arizona (see farther below).

Intel's new Fab22 facility for 10nm manufacturing in Chandler, Ariz.

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Gelsinger also announced that its new fabs will manufacture its first mainstream 7nm CPU platform, called Meteor Lake. (This will be preceded by a 7nm Ponte Vecchio accelerator chip for the Aurora supercomputer.)

The next-gen Meteor Lake will finish tape-in for design verification by the end of Q2 2021 and will ship in volume in 2023. The Meteor Lake compute tile/chiplet will use Intel's Foveros technology.

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger performing a 7nm magic trick (left) and 11th Gen Rocket Lake-S architecture

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Intel 11th Gen Rocket Lake-S SKUs

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Last week, Intel…
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