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Intel and Arm join forces to produce 1.8nm chips for mobile phones

Intel and Arm join forces to produce 1.8nm chips for mobile phones
Chip wafer (illustrative image: disclosure/Intel)

Under the leadership of Pat Gelsinger, Intel decided to manufacture chips for other companies. This week, the plan moved forward. Intel and Arm announced a partnership for processors aimed at cell phones and other mobile devices to be manufactured using a 1.8-nanometer process .

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Intel itself claims that this is a “multigenerational agreement”. This means that Intel Foundry Services (IFS) will be able to manufacture not one, but multiple generations of Arm-architected system-on-chips (SoCs).

The initial focus will be on chips for mobile devices (a sector where the Arm architecture predominates). But later phases could include SoCs for the internet of things, cars, datacenters and even aerospace applications.

Competition for TSMC

Intel makes its own chips (with x86 architecture), which makes it an exception. Companies like AMD, Qualcomm and MediaTek develop their SoC lines, but outsource the production of these units to companies like TSMC, Samsung and GlobalFoundries.

This means that the Arm deal will make Intel a direct competitor to these companies, particularly industry leader TSMC.

To differentiate itself, Intel bets on state-of-the-art technology. The partnership provides for the production of SoCs with Arm architecture based on the future Intel 18A manufacturing process. Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel, comments:

There is a growing demand for computational power driven by the digitization of everything, but until now fabless customers had limited options for building designs around the most advanced mobile technology.

Image: Ascannio/Shutterstock

And what is Intel 18A?

Intel 18A is the name of a manufacturing technology that will use RibbonFET-type transistors (more modern than current FinFET transistors) and the PowerVia technique to optimize the chip’s power consumption. The technology will also be based on a lithography of 18 angstroms, which is equivalent to 1.8 nanometers.

With this combination of characteristics, Intel plans to prolong the so-called Moore’s Law , which is getting closer and closer to the end due to physical limitations — the subject is the subject of Tecnocast 284 , worth the play!

Arm chips made with Intel 18A technology will not let performance down the drain. However, the main expected advance is in the optimization of energy consumption, a very important aspect for mobile devices.


The forecast is that chips with Intel 18A technology will begin production in the second half of 2024.

It is worth mentioning that the partnership with Arm is part of the IDM 2.0 strategy , announced by Intel in 2021 to, among other objectives, allow the company to produce chips for third parties.

The most notable part is that, if the partnership works out, Intel will return to the mobile chip market, albeit indirectly. Customers have yet to be announced, but we have a clue as to which one might be first: In 2021, Intel announced a deal to make chips for Qualcomm.

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