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Intel pens TSMC deal for custom Atom designs

updated 02:55 pm EST, Mon March 2, 2009

Intel TSMC Deal Official

Intel today confirmed details of its reported deal with TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company). The memorandum between the two companies will see Intel port the Atom processor's design techniques, patents, software libraries and other processes to TSMC's manufacturing base. Both of the partners see it as a mutually beneficial deal that gives Intel a foothold in TSMC's manufacturing while expanding TSMC's options.

The deal is specifically intended for future, system-on-chip versions of Atom like Pineview and would let TSMC build Atom-based devices for other companies. Intel says the agreement will allow a "wider range of applications" and would let companies ultimately tailor Atom to not only netbooks and nettops but also very customized mobile Internet Devices and smartphones.

Other, future x86 embedded processors are also included in the deal.

The deal is believed spurred on by cost reductions for Intel, which can save money by letting more manufacturing-specific and thus more efficient companies build the chips; nearly all Intel processors are currently made by Intel itself. It also potentially eases concerns for partners that intend to use non-reference Atom mainboard platforms like NVIDIA's Ion, though it's not clear how much freedom TSMC has to sell Atom processors without Intel's approval.

by MacNN Staff



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