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Intel adds Panasonic as foundry client

  • Intel (INTC -0.4%) has been hired by Panasonic (PCRFY) to manufacture SoCs aimed at A/V products. The chips will be made using Intel's next-gen 14nm process (recently began ramping).
  • Panasonic joins a list of Intel foundry clients that includes Altera and (reportedly) Cisco. The chip giant is leveraging its manufacturing process lead to further its efforts to be a "selective" foundry focused on high-margin deals. Nonetheless, many fabless chipmakers remain wary about having a rival handle IC manufacturing.
  • Pansonic's SoCs have been used in TVs, set-tops, and Blu-ray players. The Intel deal comes after an agreement by Panasonic to hand off 3 fabs to a 49/51 JV owned in tandem with TowerJazz.
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Comments (30)
  • liahos1
    , contributor
    Comments (38) | Send Message
     
    do tv's, stb's and blu ray players really need bleeding edge 14nm capacity?
    7 Jul 2014, 01:25 PM Reply Like
  • John Rhodes
    , contributor
    Comments (863) | Send Message
     
    "Pansonic's SoCs have been used in TVs, set-tops, and Blu-ray players."

     

    Sounds past tense to me. Might be something else? Like you, I'm curious.
    7 Jul 2014, 01:33 PM Reply Like
  • jsteinm1
    , contributor
    Comments (161) | Send Message
     
    If you ask a rational person: no.

     

    If you ask the associate at Best Buy: absolutely.
    7 Jul 2014, 01:35 PM Reply Like
  • Bruce24
    , contributor
    Comments (137) | Send Message
     
    "Sounds past tense to me."

     

    Yes, Panasonic fabbing it's own SOCs, will become a thing of the past.
    7 Jul 2014, 01:52 PM Reply Like
  • thesahibzada
    , contributor
    Comments (602) | Send Message
     
    great news for INTC
    7 Jul 2014, 01:37 PM Reply Like
  • Badonkadonk
    , contributor
    Comments (272) | Send Message
     
    Broadcom announced a quad-core 28nm chip for their 4k TVs last year (2013) and products using it were on display at CES this year. Would not surprise me if they follow the same 20/16 node shrink that mobile players are doing in next few years. If it consumes less power, or enables "smarter" Smart TVs, then I could see a rationale for it.
    7 Jul 2014, 02:43 PM Reply Like
  • smkbk
    , contributor
    Comments (24) | Send Message
     
    panasonic + tesla
    7 Jul 2014, 02:44 PM Reply Like
  • joffymartin
    , contributor
    Comments (59) | Send Message
     
    I wouldn't discount an SOC based on an Intel architecture CPU. The Intel CEO already talked about not manufacturing ARM based designs. Also the encoding part of UHD TV (HEVC) has already been ported to run as a software service in Intel based datacenters (see Harmonic's latest investor day) rather than having to use custom FPGA's or other specialised hardware, so it must also be possible to build a custom HEVC de-coder based on Intel architecture.

     

    Lastly, Panasonic is very much 'a la mode' with Intel having launched one of the first Intel iCore 5 based tablet earlier this year.
    7 Jul 2014, 03:21 PM Reply Like
  • joffymartin
    , contributor
    Comments (59) | Send Message
     
    I expect Panasonic are replacing their ageing Uniphier ARM based processor which has been used in a large range of AV products, with an Intel based CPU which will be better able to handel 4k Ultra HD tv;

     

    "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," said Panasonic SLSI Business Division director Yoshifumi Okamoto."

     

    Uniphier info;
    http://bit.ly/1r3T8P8
    7 Jul 2014, 04:16 PM Reply Like
  • liahos1
    , contributor
    Comments (38) | Send Message
     
    i thought intel said they would fab arm based product as long as that product didnt directly compete with intel's aspirations
    7 Jul 2014, 04:19 PM Reply Like
  • joffymartin
    , contributor
    Comments (59) | Send Message
     
    I suspect that was said in the context of attracting Apple as a foundry customer with a view to eventually getting them to switch to an Intel based design. I don't think the figures add up to make it worthwhile for Intel to act as a foundry business in competition with TSMC et al, without making a serious dent in their profit margin. The only strategy that makes sense here is for Intel to use its foundry capacity as (another) loss leader to entice customers to a superior manufacturing process, coupled with preferential access to production time that TSMC forbids, and, once the customer is hooked, ensure an Intel designed core is adopted.
    8 Jul 2014, 05:32 AM Reply Like
  • Cincinnatus
    , contributor
    Comments (3875) | Send Message
     
    Thanks for the Uniphier link. Every foundry relationship Intel has done has been a strategic partnership that involves IP that Intel has incorporated into future announced products (for example the recent announcements involving FPGAs and HMC). In this case it does look like replacing the ARM based core in Uniphier with an x86 core would be a good fit.

     

    After I saw the announcement yesterday I was looking for info on this division. It's a consolidation of Panasonic and Fujitsu divisions, and I think given what they're doing there's far more to this partnership than just "TVs, set-tops, and Blu-ray players" in the press release, and while the press release talks of the here and now, it's really just the tip of the iceberg.

     

    http://bit.ly/1jbL2DJ
    "With the new integrated company, Fujitsu and Panasonic plan to combine the technological prowess that they have long accumulated, while concentrating new investments on key fields to be a global top-level LSI company. Areas of focus include 1) High-performance solutions (high-performance servers and core technologies that support cloud infrastructure such as ultra-high-speed networks), 2) Visual and imaging solutions (next-generation DTV, applications for image recognition, etc.), and 3) Wireless solutions (mobile and extremely low-power wireless connectivity solutions that support ubiquitous networks). Deliberations are underway with DBJ regarding the procurement of investment funding for increasing global competitiveness in key fields."

     

    All of those areas are key to Intel, and I think they're all potentially part of this partnership.

     

    The IP I think is most interesting is image recognition. Renesas has worked on image recognition SoCs, and Renesas was originally in talks to be part of the tie-up with Fujitsu and Panasonic but backed out. I think this Panasonic/Fujitsu division is working on such an SoC as well, and the IP would be valuable to Intel if licensed and embedded in future Intel SoCs.
    http://bit.ly/1jbL0fe
    http://bit.ly/1jbL2DR
    8 Jul 2014, 12:35 PM Reply Like
  • Bruce24
    , contributor
    Comments (137) | Send Message
     
    "Every foundry relationship Intel has done has been a strategic partnership that involves IP that Intel has incorporated into future announced products (for example the recent announcements involving FPGAs and HMC)."

     

    While I imagine they got the FPGA IP used in the recently announced Xeon from Altera, who is one of their foundry customers. I think this is a one off.

     

    If you have other info can you please provide what IP from each of Intel's foundry customers is going to used in future Intel products? To make it easier here is the list of the previous 5 companies:

     

    Altera
    Achronix
    Tabula
    Netronome
    Microsemi

     

    Thanks,
    9 Jul 2014, 09:10 AM Reply Like
  • Cincinnatus
    , contributor
    Comments (3875) | Send Message
     
    Most of the deals have been with FPGA vendors, as Intel is interested in FPGA technology in general, not tied to any one project. If I had to pick one for the latest Xeon/FPGA hybrid announcement I would have picked Achronix, but I don't think that's the way to look at this. Intel is interested in general FPGA expertise as applied to their process tech and future products.

     

    Intel and Altera have been working on HMC, and now Intel has announced that the Xeon Phi will use HMC in 2015. If you're looking at this as one product announcement from Intel for every foundry partner, or the fruits from a partnership has to be directly tied to the primary product of that partner, you're looking at this too narrowly.
    http://ubm.io/1iGoYAM
    http://bit.ly/1jVeuZp
    http://bit.ly/1lU3PhD

     

    Intel has said from the start that they're not interested in being a general foundry. Otellini was very clear that he was looking for strategic partnerships.

     

    Now Bruce, do you have any specific objection to what I wrote previously? Do you not believe Intel is interested in or active in the areas of items #1, #2, and #3 above?
    9 Jul 2014, 11:28 AM Reply Like
  • Cincinnatus
    , contributor
    Comments (3875) | Send Message
     
    Bruce, if as you imply Intel is in these deals to be a general foundry, why choose such small players to be a foundry for? Why not choose someone large that will really move the needle?
    9 Jul 2014, 11:39 AM Reply Like
  • joffymartin
    , contributor
    Comments (59) | Send Message
     
    And don't forget Rockchip, where an Intel core is replacing ARM cores;

     

    http://bit.ly/1lUvIX1

     

    By the middle of 2015 Intel and Rockchip will launch a new SoFIA SoC, featuring four Intel Atom cores and an Intel 3G modem. From the text of the announcement, it sounds like Intel will be providing the IP for the SoC while Rockchip will handle the integration of the design itself:

     

    “We are always looking for innovative ways to differentiate our product portfolio, and the first-of-its-kind collaboration with Intel helps us do this,” said Min Li, Rockchip CEO. “The combination of Intel’s leading architecture and modem technology with our leading mobile design capability brings greater choice to the growing global market for mobile devices in the entry and value segments.”
    9 Jul 2014, 02:41 PM Reply Like
  • Cincinnatus
    , contributor
    Comments (3875) | Send Message
     
    The linked article gives a few details on what Intel and Altera are working on. It's much more than a simple one-way foundry-customer relationship.

     

    "Intel to make multi-die 14nm finfet devices with Altera"
    http://bit.ly/1mLr3wu
    10 Jul 2014, 12:00 AM Reply Like
  • joffymartin
    , contributor
    Comments (59) | Send Message
     
    At the bottom of your linked article is a link to an even more detailed article;
    http://bit.ly/1oFvjdR

     

    Briefly "Altera: 14nm Stratix and 20nm Arria FPGA details"
    TSMC is making the 20nm Arria which will be cheaper and a bit more powerful than the old Stratix V.
    Intel is making the new Stratix 10 on 14nm and will be considerably more powerful, but consume much less power.

     

    "Over with Arria 10, Biran is predicting up to a 1.9x performance boost over Altera’s current FPGA+processor combinations, 4x I/O bandwidth and 3x system performance – defined as: 16 28.05Gbit/s transceivers (“already demonstrated on a test chip”), 17.4Gbit/s backplane support, 2.666Gbit/s DDR4 interfacing, and up to 15Gbit/s for Hybrid Memory Cube. And power is 40% down."
    10 Jul 2014, 06:43 AM Reply Like
  • Bruce24
    , contributor
    Comments (137) | Send Message
     
    "Now Bruce, do you have any specific objection to what I wrote previously? "

     

    I'll quote it again for you:

     

    "Every foundry relationship Intel has done has been a strategic partnership that involves IP that Intel has incorporated into future announced products (for example the recent announcements involving FPGAs and HMC)."

     

    Your saying every, which I don't think is true, to date there appears to be one.

     

    "Intel has said from the start that they're not interested in being a general foundry. Otellini was very clear that he was looking for strategic partnerships."

     

    Otellini, the product marketing guy, was not really in favor of it but let it start on a small scale. Krzanich, the fab guys seems much more interested.
    10 Jul 2014, 08:36 AM Reply Like
  • Bruce24
    , contributor
    Comments (137) | Send Message
     
    Because, especially under Otellini they weren't very committed to becoming a large scale foundry. Now with Krzanich, I think they will look for a bit more, but until they show success, I don't think the growth will be all that fast.
    10 Jul 2014, 08:43 AM Reply Like
  • Bruce24
    , contributor
    Comments (137) | Send Message
     
    Joffy,

     

    I think the deal with Rockchip, was all about creating a very slow cost quad core version of SoFIA. As I understand it, Intel had just planned a dual core version of SoFIA with 3G. When they shopped it around many of their customers asked for a quad core version to put into low cost tablets.

     

    As for why they went with Rockchip, either Intel didn't have the design resources to spare for spinning a new version, or they decided there was 3G IP that Rockchip had access to that would allow it to be less expensive product.

     

    Also note, the Rockchip's version will be fabbed at TSMC not Intel.

     

    10 Jul 2014, 08:57 AM Reply Like
  • Cincinnatus
    , contributor
    Comments (3875) | Send Message
     
    "Because, especially under Otellini they weren't very committed to becoming a large scale foundry."

     

    Which you've produced no evidence of. If they want to be a large scale foundry they need large scale customers. Not even Altera is a large scale customer. Altera's total revenues are under $2B, and Intel would only get a fraction of that as both revenues and profits. As a pure foundry deal that makes no sense. Intel would need Apple or Qualcomm, or perhaps a combination of NVidia and AMD, to move the needle.
    10 Jul 2014, 11:24 AM Reply Like
  • Cincinnatus
    , contributor
    Comments (3875) | Send Message
     
    "Your saying every, which I don't think is true, to date there appears to be one."

     

    Given your criteria there is zero to date. There's no announcement that the Xeon/FPGA hybrid came from one of these partnerships, and if you were to conjecture the best guess would be Achronix given the timing, not Altera.
    10 Jul 2014, 11:51 AM Reply Like
  • Bruce24
    , contributor
    Comments (137) | Send Message
     
    "Which you've produced no evidence of."

     

    I'm still waiting for you to produce evidence of "Every foundry relationship Intel has done has been a strategic partnership that involves IP that Intel has incorporated into future announced products". As again I don't think this is true.

     

    "If they want to be a large scale foundry they need large scale customers. "

     

    I'm not sure they know what their ultimate plan is in the foundry space. I think they started slow under Otellini and we will see how things go under Krzanich and decide if this is a business that they can make money with.
    10 Jul 2014, 03:00 PM Reply Like
  • Bruce24
    , contributor
    Comments (137) | Send Message
     
    "Given your criteria there is zero to date."

     

    I'm not sure what criteria you think I have, but I said "appears" because I don't know for sure, but some articles have suggested this and Intel did announce a "Collaboration Will Optimize Integration of 14 nm Tri-Gate Stratix 10 FPGAs with Heterogeneous Technologies into a Single System-in-a-Package"

     

    http://intel.ly/1rYWJR1
    10 Jul 2014, 03:04 PM Reply Like
  • Cincinnatus
    , contributor
    Comments (3875) | Send Message
     
    You're absolutely right. I'm not going to be able to produce any evidence that specific Intel products (most of which will come in the future) are linked to specific partnerships, first and foremost because Intel is never likely to make those links public. All I can go on is that's what Intel says is the strategy, and what's known confirms what they've said they're doing.

     

    Here's an article on the Achronix deal, and likewise it speaks of Intel and Achronix working jointly on the technology development because consistent with Intel's stated strategy the goal is for Intel to incorporate the IP within Intel's future products (and it's this deal that's likely the source of the announced Xeon FPGA hybrid).

     

    http://ubm.io/1rZbHGF
    "The relationship with Achronix could be a precursor to Intel eventually combining programmable logic with its Atom cores on the same die to create a new type of device. Earlier this year both Xilinx and Actel Corp. announced products that combined their programmable logic technology with hard ARM processor cores."
    10 Jul 2014, 04:01 PM Reply Like
  • Cincinnatus
    , contributor
    Comments (3875) | Send Message
     
    <<I'm still waiting for you to produce evidence of "Every foundry relationship Intel has done has been a strategic partnership that involves IP that Intel has incorporated into future announced products". As again I don't think this is true.>>

     

    I have produced evidence, and I've cited sources, something that you won't do, nor will you back up your claim. What I can't do is produce an Intel press release that shows that a particular Intel product came from a partnership with a particular partner. That's not happened so far and is never likely to happen.

     

    The reason you're not going to answer the question, is that it's clear these aren't pure foundry deals. The only reason Intel (or any foundry for that matter) would do a pure foundry deal is for financial gain, and these partners aren't large enough to produce a financial gain that would move the needle or justify Intel's involvement. It's also the case that Intel has said they're not interested in pure foundry deals, and until they come out and say otherwise there's no reason for me to believe the strategy has changed.
    10 Jul 2014, 04:12 PM Reply Like
  • Cincinnatus
    , contributor
    Comments (3875) | Send Message
     
    "Collaboration Will Optimize Integration of 14 nm Tri-Gate Stratix 10 FPGAs with Heterogeneous Technologies into a Single System-in-a-Package"

     

    The earlier link to Electronics Weekly concerned the same announcement you link to. As they both point out these partnerships are about more than a simple foundry relationship. In this case Intel is not simply fab'ing Altera parts, nor is the collaboration limited to Altera's main business of FPGAs. They're also working on multi-die packaging, memory, 3D stacking, etc..

     

    This is the reason for my original comment. If one is only looking at these deals with Achronix, Altera, Panasonic etc. as simple foundry deals you're missing the investment implications for Intel in the long-term.
    10 Jul 2014, 04:26 PM Reply Like
  • Bruce24
    , contributor
    Comments (137) | Send Message
     
    Ok, we disagree, I do not think Intel is looking for IP from each of the foundry customers they signed. Where it makes sense I'm sure they will, but others are just customers.
    10 Jul 2014, 06:41 PM Reply Like
  • jumpnjoey77
    , contributor
    Comments (694) | Send Message
     
    I see a dodo.
    7 Jul 2014, 05:18 PM Reply Like
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