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Intel Foundry announces design win with Microsoft

23rd February 2024
Paige West

Intel Corp. has inaugurated its Intel Foundry, positioning it as a more sustainable systems foundry enterprise tailored for the AI era.

Alongside, the company announced a comprehensive expansion of its process technology roadmap, aiming to secure a leadership position into the latter part of this decade. These developments were unveiled at Intel’s foundry event, Intel Foundry Direct Connect, which brought together customers, ecosystem partners, and industry leaders to discuss future collaborations and innovations. Notable attendees included U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, Arm CEO Rene Haas, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, among others.

“AI is profoundly transforming the world and how we think about technology and the silicon that powers it,” said Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger. “This is creating an unprecedented opportunity for the world’s most innovative chip designers and for Intel Foundry, the world’s first systems foundry for the AI era. Together, we can create new markets and revolutionise how the world uses technology to improve people’s lives.”

The updated process technology roadmap introduces the Intel 14A to Intel’s forefront node plan, alongside various specialised node evolutions. Intel reaffirms its commitment to its ambitious five-nodes-in-four-years (5N4Y) process roadmap, which promises the delivery of the industry’s first backside power solution. With an aim to reinstate its process leadership by 2025 with the introduction of Intel 18A, the company's roadmap also outlines developments for Intel 3, Intel 18A, and Intel 14A process technologies. This includes Intel 3-T, optimised with through-silicon vias for 3D advanced packaging designs, approaching manufacturing readiness, and the announcement of new 12 nanometre nodes through collaboration with UMC. These advancements are designed to offer customers the flexibility to develop and deliver products suited to their specific needs. Intel Foundry’s strategy includes launching a new node every two years, supplemented by node evolutions, providing a continuous path for customers to enhance their offerings using Intel’s leading-edge process technology.

During the event, significant emphasis was placed on customer support for Intel’s long-term systems foundry approach, highlighted by a keynote from Pat Gelsinger where Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella announced Microsoft’s decision to utilise the Intel 18A process for a new chip design. Nadella’s statement underscored the critical shift towards advanced, high-performance semiconductors to transform productivity across all sectors.

“We are in the midst of a very exciting platform shift that will fundamentally transform productivity for every individual organisation and the entire industry,” Nadella said. “To achieve this vision, we need a reliable supply of the most advanced, high-performance, and high-quality semiconductors. That’s why we are so excited to work with Intel Foundry, and why we have chosen a chip design that we plan to produce on Intel 18A process.”

Intel Foundry has achieved design wins across various process generations, including Intel 18A, Intel 16, and Intel 3, marking significant customer engagement and volume in advanced packaging capabilities. The foundry’s expected lifetime deal value, covering both wafer and advanced packaging services, exceeds $15 billion.

The event also served as a platform for intellectual property (IP) and electronic design automation (EDA) partners like Synopsys, Cadence, Siemens, and Ansys to declare their readiness in accelerating Intel Foundry customers’ chip designs. These partners have validated tools, design flows, and IP portfolios for Intel’s advanced packaging and the Intel 18A process technologies, marking a significant step in enabling the development of advanced chips with the industry’s first backside power solution.

Intel introduced its ‘Emerging Business Initiative’, showcasing a collaboration with Arm to provide advanced foundry services for Arm-based system-on-chips (SoCs). This initiative underscores the potential for Arm and Intel to support startups in developing Arm-based technologies, offering crucial IP, manufacturing support, and financial assistance to promote innovation and growth.

Intel’s systems foundry approach, characterised by full-stack optimisation from factory network to software, differentiates it in the competitive AI era. This approach, supported by continuous technological improvements, reference designs, and new standards, empowers customers to innovate across the entire system.

Stuart Pann, Senior Vice President of Intel Foundry at Intel said: “We are offering a world-class foundry, delivered from a resilient, more sustainable and secure source of supply, and complemented by unparalleled systems of chips capabilities. Bringing these strengths together gives customers everything they need to engineer and deliver solutions for the most demanding applications.”

Resilient supply chains must also be increasingly sustainable, and today Intel shared its goal of becoming the industry’s most sustainable foundry. In 2023, preliminary estimates show that Intel used 99% renewable electricity in its factories worldwide. Today, the company redoubled its commitment to achieving 100% renewable electricity worldwide, net-positive water and zero waste to landfills by 2030. Intel also reinforced its commitment to net-zero Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions by 2040 and net-zero upstream Scope 3 emissions by 2050.

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