Intel foundry to manufacture ARM chip

A macro shot of an Intel processor

Chips using ARM's 64-bit technology will be built at an Intel foundry thanks to a third party vendor, Altera.

The Stratix 10 SoC chipset marks the first time a processor will combine Intel's 14n Tri-Gate process with the Cambridge-based firm's 64-bit Cortex technology.

Despite Intel struggling to gain traction in the mobile market, the chip giant has downplayed reports that this is a significant development.

"Altera's plans to incorporate an ARM core in its Stratix 10 FPGA does not change anything, we are enabling them with the industry's best manufacturing capability and second generation Tri-Gate transistors," Intel said in a statement to IT Pro.

"We have said that we will be open to manufacturing competitive architectures. This is part of a pre-existing foundry agreement, and we're not worried about what core they are using for the general purpose FPGAs."

Although Intel is making a big push mobile market with its latest Atom architecture (codenamed Bay Trail), ARM is the dominant force in this area. Chip designs from the Cambridge-based firm are licensed to prominent vendors including Nvidia, Samsung and Qualcomm.

Apple's A-series processor range, which is used to power iPhones and iPads is also based on ARM architecture. The A7 processor, introduced in the iPhone 5s was also the first 64-bit to be used in a smartphone.

However, Intel, which is still the world's biggest semi-conductor firm will look to turn the tables on competitors with the introduction of of its Software-Defined-Radio (SDR) technology.

SDR will support multiple wireless standards simply by updating the software - and without the need to make changes to the hardware. Intel claims this will reduced cost-of-ownership, allow products to get to market faster and increase economies-of-scale when compared to classical baseband products.

Khidr Suleman is the Technical Editor at IT Pro, a role he has fulfilled since March 2012. He is responsible for the reviews section on the site  - so get in touch if you have a product you think might be of interest to the business world. He also covers the hardware and operating systems beats. Prior to joining IT Pro, Khidr worked as a reporter at Incisive Media. He studied law at the University of Reading and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism and Online Writing at PMA Training.