Intel will begin licensing its x86-compatible processor cores and other blocks to third-party manufacturers. This will allow the company’s customers to create non-standard chips in which x86, RISC-V and ARM architecture cores will be combined, as well as other blocks such as special computational accelerators. There is only one condition: Customers will not be able to produce chips with Intel blocks on the side, but will only order their production from Intel itself.
About Intel’s strategy in this area to resource representatives The registry said Bob Brennan, the company’s vice president of customer solutions in the Contract Services Division. In other words, if anyone knows better than anyone how Intel will interact with customers to design processors customized to their needs, it’s Brennan. As he explained, Intel will license the use of both software-defined processor cores and hardware units with fixed functionality to customers. In the first case, it is often about creating some early prototypes, in the second – preparing for the release of serial processors.
The combination of blocks that are heterogeneous in their architecture in a processor requires the use of so-called chiplets – separate crystals integrated by a common substrate. In any case, this is Intel’s original concept of giving customers access to cores with a heterogeneous architecture. Customers can choose from Intel’s pre-engineered function blocks, which are then produced for their needs as part of processors at that company’s facilities. There is still no talk of the possibility of transferring functions for packaging and mounting such processors to third-party manufacturers.
Intel is now working to ensure that ARM architecture components can be manufactured in-house by unifying the design at the technology infrastructure level. Intel is going in a similar direction with the RISC-V architecture. Similar products can already be manufactured, starting with the Intel 16 process technology, previously known as 22FFL. In the future, the company will produce processors tailored to the needs of customers with the technical processes Intel 3 and 18A – the latter should be on the assembly line by 2025.
The combination of heterogeneous components within custom Intel processors will support the advanced microcontroller bus architecture already used by ARM customers. In the server area, this integration of system components is facilitated by the CXL interface. Intel software for the RISC-V architecture must be open source.