Intel Foundry’s First Customers Achronix Rolls Paying Off

Intel Foundry’s First Customers Achronix Rolls Paying Off
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Achronix Semiconductor Corp. said Wednesday that its gambit with Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC)’s foundry business is poised to pay off big time.

Achronix’s latest chips Speedster22i HD1000 FPGAs, built on Intel’s 22nm 3D Tri-Gate process technology, are being served to customers. The device would cost only half of the high end FPGAs, and will consume only half the power.

Intel Foundry's First Customers Achronix Rolls Paying Off

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The Silicon Valley start-up shifted its foundry business to Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC)’s new foundry operation from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Achronix took a big risk because Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) had absolutely no experience as a foundry, and it was Intel’s first factory customer. Another move that surprised many is that Achronix pays a lot more to purchase Intel wafers than it paid to TSMC.

Achronix founder chairman John Lofton Holt said that using Intel’s 22-nm process has placed Achronix 2-3 years ahead of the competition. Holt is so confident about the partnership that his company has started investing in Intel’s 14-nm process technology.

Today, Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC)’s foundry business has many chip customers, most of them undisclosed. The two publicly announced customers are Netronome and Tabula. Intel’s Technology and Manufacturing Group vice president Sunit Rikhi said that his company is excited to have Achronix as their first foundry customer.

Intel and Achronix both believe that Intel is capable of making more sophisticated and smaller transistors than any other foundry. Intel’s Oregon factory fabricates the Achronix chips on silicon wafers, which are then shipped to Arizona facility for packaging. Most of the foundries are located in South-east Asia. But Achronix quickly points out that its chips are 100% “Made In USA.”

Holt believes his partnership with Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) will be his start-up’s ticket to the big league. Achronix’s HP families and Speedster22i HD are based on Intel’s 22-nm process and the technology would enable the company to compete head-to-head with Xilinx, Inc. (NASDAQ:XLNX) and Altera Corporation (NASDAQ:ALTR). Achronix expects to ramp up production by the fourth quarter of this year.

The company believes that some of its chips will make their way to companies that produce gear for high performance security, networking, computing and encryption.

Achronix plans to go public in 2014.

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