Intel Announces Intent to Manufacture Atom SoCs at TSMC

Discussion in 'Graphics and Semiconductor Industry' started by rjc, Mar 2, 2009.

  1. rjc

    rjc
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    From anandtech:
    http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/intel/showdoc.aspx?i=3522

    "Today Intel announced that it and TSMC have agreed to a “memorandum of understanding (MOU) to collaborate on addressing technology platform, intellectual property (IP) infrastructure, and System-on-Chip (SoC) solutions.” We’re clearly early on in the process, Intel isn’t announcing any products or mentioning any shipping time frames; it’s just saying that in the future, some Intel products may be manufactured at TSMC. "
     
  2. tangey

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    And according to TheRegister, one of the primary reasons cited by Intel is:-


    "Maloney explained that a major reason for the agreement was that TSMC has access to IP (intellectual property) licenses that Intel does not and which customers require. "This give us access to a different market, and allows our customers to do more-differentiated products," he said, "It opens up a new area for us."

    "Chandrasekher added that there are two reasons why Intel itself doesn't simply acquire the needed IP themselves: the time it would take to do so, and the "investment element."
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/03/02/intel_tsmc/

    So we know Intel have taken some PowerVr SGX licences, which are currently being used in the System Controller Hub companion chip to the standalone Atom and also in the consumer electronics Soc Canmore, So what other IP does TSMC have that would be so vital to the cause of an Atom Soc ?
     
  3. iwod

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    I thought the main point was that their customer could customise their own SoC with selected Intel parts.

    Example, a Chip for Home Server, will only need Atom Core, USB, SATA and Ethernet.

    With the current solution most Atom SoC includes Graphics Core which is not needed for a Home Server.

    Previously Arun stated in an Article about Atom being only 9mm2 on 45nm and Cortex A8 is >7mm2 on 65nm. However how useful is Atom without cache? ( I think X86 without cache is pretty much useless )

    So let say 18mm2 on 45nm compare to 7mm2 on 65nm.

    It remain to be seen how x86 can complete. Is developing for ARM really that expensive? Given that contribution from LLVM complier, Google, Nokia and Apple. And the recent Debian 5.0 that runs on ARM NAS.....

    Do we NEED x86 in embedded sector?
     
  4. rpg.314

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    For me, Intel has a console win. May be not PS4, but certainly atleast one of them.
     
  5. Rufus

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    Erm, how do you go from low-power integrated cpu to a console win? Atom's going to be in netbooks and eventually cell phones (probably?), LRB + Nehalem or something would be in a console.

    Ars has an interesting take, that Intel simply can't afford to produce something this low-margin on their current process fab. Intel's always done high-margin CPU on their current fabs, and used the previous gen for chipsets / flash / etc. If atom's going to be competitive it has to be on a current-gen fab, but that completely screws Intel's economics.

    http://arstechnica.com/hardware/new...rd-monster-intel-outsources-chips-to-tsmc.ars
     
  6. rpg.314

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    If they are ok with sending out their IP on a foreign process, (a big first for them), they wouldn't mind a tsmc's lrb. Don't forget that a console lrb is also going to be almost margin less. This would assuage the fears of any company wanting to use lrb in a console but wanting to avoid getting burnt like ms. Desktop/laptop gpu's, where margins are, could still be on intel's fabs. And if they can port atom to tsmc's process, they probably can do it for lrb also.
     
  7. iwod

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    The more i think about it. Isn't this a Win Win for them both? TSMC CEO foresee some very slow recovery and with TSMC having much less order to lots of Wafer space.

    Intel wants Atom out for custom design as well as saving their wafer for high margin CPU.
     
  8. rpg.314

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    That's why they both agreed to it. :)
     
  9. DavidC

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    I think personally the *core* of the Atom derivatives will be Intel manufactured. Why would they bother making SoC versions of their process technology?? They said they are also committed to keep doing that for future lithography generations.
     
  10. Silent_Buddha

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    Assuming the tech sector recovers and Atom remains popular. Demand is going to far outstrip supply when the recovery occurs. I see opportunities here for other independant fabs if this occurs.

    Assuming of course they other fabs can survive this recession...

    Regards,
    SB
     
  11. iwod

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    Just have an update on this, Intel said Fabless Companies wont be able to combine their design and IP with Atom.
    It will be strictly be end customer products.
    This is exactly what Arun stated in his article....Personally i dont see anyone using this apart from Apple.
     
  12. rpg.314

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    But why do that?:???:
     
  13. MfA

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    If you want to run windows.
     

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