Intel to start making ARM processors

nexus-7-intel
Here’s something interesting that isn’t about the Nexus 5 – Intel are going to start building ARM chips as of next year, beginning with the Altera ARM Cortex-A53.

This is an interesting development for Intel, who up until now have been trying to convince everyone that x86 processors are just as good as ARM chips for mobile devices. No one’s been buying it, even though some pretty high-end tablets have been packing Intel cores. Without getting into the specifics of why (something about reduced instruction sets), ARM CPUs are much more battery friendly than desktop-class x86 CPUs and so are better suited for mobile devices. So much so that almost every mobile device on the market – Android, iOS and Windows Phone/RT – is powered by an ARM CPU.

The processor in question, the Altera ARM Cortex A53, is a quad-core 64-bit CPU – one of the first of its kind – and will be used to power boring old network equipment, rather than zippy new smartphones. Nonetheless, it’s a fairly symbolic decision from the largest semiconductor manufacturer in the world, with Forbes willing to suggest that Intel are getting ready to compete with the big semiconductor foundries for the business of companies like NVIDIA or Qualcomm.

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About the author

James recently graduated law in Melbourne, and decided to run away to London to avoid getting a real job. In between long walks on the beach and eating by candlelight, he enjoys boring people with rants about technology. He has... (read more)


  • Michael

    You imply that Intel is abandoning x86 in favour of arm, which isn’t the case at all. Rather Intel are opening fans up to selected external customers. So as well as manufacturing their own chips, that will also compete with tsmc, global foundries,etc.

    • Michael

      Oops. Fabs not fans.

  • jamesboag

    I think you meant to say “Intel are going to start building ARM chips again”. They sold their ARM business to Marvell. I still have a Compaq iPAQ with an Intel ARM processor in it.