When you think of processors and the manufacture thereof, you would assume that the companies that come to mind — Intel, AMD, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), Qualcomm and Samsung — are all trying to do the same thing but better than the others, making them competitors. However, what many people don’t know is that, while many companies design their own chips there are only a few that actually make them.
Of the companies mentioned above, only Intel and Samsung both design and manufacture their own chips. But the former has recently started expanding its foundry capabilities and will start manufacturing chips for other companies.
Intel will be introducing a new flavour of chips
Qualcomm will be the first customer of Intel’s new and improved 20A process. This new process uses a new transistor architecture called RibbonFET, updating the company’s now ancient FinFET architecture that it’s been using since 2011.
If you aren’t already familiar with transistor architecture then don’t worry, all you need to know is that it will mean better processors at a, presumably, lower power cost, which all translates to better products and experiences for you, the end-user.
Don’t expect the gloriously improved products any time soon though. It’s still going to be quite some years before a new Intel or Qualcomm chip ends up in a device you can hold or touch.
There’s something about this partnership that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense and we can’t help but see Intel scrambling, ever so slightly. Possibly starting from when Apply decided to manufacture its own chips, together with AMD’s ever-increasing market share over the past few years, means Intel isn’t sitting as comfortably atop its ‘process market leader’ throne as it’s used to.
Still, it’s nice to see companies getting along, especially when that means — in a few years at least — we get cool new tech to play with.