Intel Seeks To Fill New Fabs With Custom Chips Combining x86, Arm and RISC-V
As it happens, if you want to combine multiple ISAs under the same heatspreader, Intel says "Sure!" At least, according to a report from The Register. Said report states that Intel has created a "chiplet chassis" that foundry customers can use to mix and match processors in the same package. The chiplets can use different ISAs, and customers can wire it all up using Compute Express Link, or CXL.
Intel is willing to license its own x86 tech to foundry customers in the form of hard or soft cores, and customers can combine them with their own designs, too. Speaking to the site, Intel Foundry Services' VP of Customer Solutions Bob Brennan said it's "the first time in Intel's history that we'll license x86 soft cores and hard cores to customers who would like to develop chips."
We already knew Intel was willing to fabricate Arm and RISC-V processors; the company specifically said so when it re-launched IFS nearly a year ago. Offering to license its own IP and then slap it down along with customers' creations using entirely different ISAs altogether, all in the same package, well, that's a different animal. Intel didn't elucidate which processor designs it would be licensing, yet.
The company did say that initially it'll be offering capacity on its venerable Intel 16 process, which is the artist formerly known as 22FFL. Eventually—likely after Intel's new fabs get spun up to production-ready status—it'll be offering customers space on its brand-new Intel 3 process, and even its bleeding-edge 18A process. No word on whether it'll allow other companies to use its packaging innovations, though, like Foveros.