It looks like Intel (INTC) is getting in to the foundry business, SemiAccurate has just found out that they are making chips for a second startup. Just like Achronix late last year, Intel will be fabbing FPGAs for Tabula as well.
That is the short story, a new customer for the foundry side of Intel. The company continues to insist that they don’t do foundry work however. That is what they said almost two years ago when we first broke the news that Intel was desperately searching for foundry customers, and now they have two, but the division still doesn’t exist. Just ask them, honest.
In an interesting play, Intel put an Altera FPGA on the same package as an Atom last fall, the result was called Stellarton. It debuted to yawns of apathy at IDF, the unwritten message was that ARM has niche specific variants, Intel’s riposte will be an FPGA + Atom. The driver of the ARM steamroller outside Moscone after that keynote said he didn’t notice anything amiss and continued about his business of flattening everything that Atom was looking at.
Sources at Intel tell SemiAccurate that Achronix is not only being fabbed at Intel, but some of the SKUs are destined for future Atoms as well. That is all fine and dandy for the low power set, but what about higher power offerings to be coupled with Core iSomethingmeaningless? Tabula just so happens to make a much higher performance and higher power FPGA, imagine the coincidence!
If it isn’t clear by now, you are seeing a pillar of Intel’s future strategy right here. The non-existent foundry wing of Intel is jumping heavily in to the FPGA world to assure future component supply. Couple that with the interposer in Ivy Bridge and you have a very nice window in to how Intel sees the future of the CPU. That future starts with Haswell, and goes on from there.S|A