Intel Progresses 14nm Technology

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Shares of Intel Corporation (INTC) hit a 52-week high as the company reportedly announced that it was designed into 130 new Android and Windows-based tablets to launch this year (Intel intends to power 40 million tablets in 2014).

But that isn’t all – the chipmaker also collaborated with Synopsys, Inc. (SNPS), ANSYS, Inc. (ANSS), Mentor Graphics Corp. (MENT) and Cadence Design Systems, Inc. (CDNS) to facilitate the adoption of its 14 nanometer (nm) Tri-Gate process technology by Intel Custom Foundry customers. The partnerships will boost its 14nm design platform for cloud infrastructure and mobile market applications. These alliances are an extension of the work on the Intel Custom Foundry 22nm process design platform to the 14nm platform.

Collaborations

Intel’s collaboration with Synopsis will enable an extensive System on a Chip ("SoC") design for its custom foundry 14-nm Tri-Gate process technology. Building on the proven success of the companies’ design enablement for Intel's 22-nm foundry process design platform, Intel has chosen Synopsys’ design expertise and IP portfolio for its new 14-nm foundry process technology. Synopsis is a provider of electronic design automation ("EDA") software products, intellectual property ("IP") and services to build and improve chips and electronic systems.

Following the collaboration with Cadence, Intel will gain the latter’s LPDDR4-3200 PHY for its 14nm Low Power design platform. Cadence’s technology will cater to high memory performance, efficient power and cost, and compact system demands of Intel’s mobile market applications. Moreover, the collaboration will also help in the expansion of the Cadence digital flow design platform, which in turn will enable customers to leverage the power, performance and area advantages of Intel's 14nm process technology. Cadence provides EDA software and its software, hardware, IP, and services are utilized to design and verify semiconductor and electronics systems.

Intel, as part of its partnership with ANSYS, will gain access to ANSYS simulation solutions, which will enable customers to use a production-proven, industry-leading reference flow for power, electromigration ("EM") and reliability sign-off solution for its 14nm Tri-Gate process platform. ANSYS offers engineering simulation software and services to bring clarity and insight to complicated design challenges.

Intel together with Mentor Graphics will offer models and rule decks for circuit simulation, design rule checking ("DRC") and layout against schematic checking ("LVS") for mobile and cloud applications. Intel will incorporate Mentor’s standard circuit simulation, verification and sign-off technology with 14nm design platform. This will enable customers to offer optimized designs for process-specific needs, thereby providing leading cycle time and physical verification precision. Mentor Graphics provides EDA software and hardware solutions, products and consulting services for electro-mechanical and semiconductor systems.

Growth Prospects

Intel's Tri-Gate technology is a proprietary 3D transistor technology and its 14nm transistor technology for SoC is a highly developed and enhanced version of the Tri-Gate process technology. These transistors enable efficient and high performance chips compared to the earlier generations of transistors. Therefore, this allows chip designers to select transistors for low power or high performance, based on the applications.

Intel has previously stated that its foundry partnerships are strategic agreements. These partnerships can enable fabless semiconductor companies to fully leverage the features offered by its 14nm process technology to build innovative products. They should therefore be beneficial for Intel’s Custom Foundry business, which should in turn drive up utilization rates and boost its results going forward.

Currently, Intel holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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