SAN FRANCISCO — Panasonic will make SoCs in a low-power flavor of Intel's 14nm process technology. The Japanese company is the sixth announced customer for a foundry business that Intel says is strategic and expanding its packaging capabilities.
"We are doing extremely well getting customers who can use our technology," Sunit Rikhi, general manager of Intel's foundry group, said in a talk at Semicon West, though he would not provide details. "We are in this business to grow, and it's strategically an important vector in our Intel strategy."
Other companies making or planning to make chips in Intel's fabs include Achronix, Altera, Microsemi, Netronome, and Tablula. Rikhi described Intel's foundry business in broad terms: "We need to demonstrate our service orientation and earn trust of customers."
He suggested that the low-power variant of Intel's 14nm process is relatively new. Intel uses a general-purpose 22nm process but supports multiple flavors of its 32nm process.
Yoshifumi Okamoto, director of Panasonic's SoC group, said in a press release, "We will deliver highly improved performance and power advantages with next-generation SoCs by leveraging Intel's 14nm Tri-Gate process technology through our collaboration."
When asked about chip stacks, Rikhi said Intel is offering several options and plans to start work with outside packaging companies soon. "So far we have offered integrated packaging in-house, but we are beginning to talk to some customers about their buying wafers from us and having packaging done by OSATs. I would expect we will do that before too long."
Intel expects to make 10nm chips without extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography, he said, reiterating comments from Intel's Mark Bohr. However, Rikhi expressed enthusiasm for getting access to next-generation scanners and larger wafers as soon as possible. "EUV is like 450mm wafers. When it comes, it is great."
— Rick Merritt, Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, EE Times