Definition - What does Fabless mean?

The idea of 'fabless' manufacturing in IT involves manufacturing hardware devices in locations without specific fabrication for core technologies like semiconductors. In these situations, manufacturers will outsource the design of these smaller pieces to other companies that may have a lower cost of labor or other accommodations.

Techopedia explains Fabless

Although the idea behind fabless hardware production is relatively simple, this term is now generating a lot of debate about the best strategies for comprehensive hardware manufacturing. Some of the traditional strengths of a fabless strategy include making processes more cost effective. However, as experts are now pointing out, this can also come with a significant downside in terms of quality control or precision for manufacturing processes.

Reports from companies like Intel show, in some cases, that the primary manufacturers may be better served using their own resources to produce the smaller semiconductors or other high design pieces. Experts talk about the relative success of using the nanometer scale to create these small technologies, and how outside vendors may, in some cases, have trouble replicating the results that hardware manufacturers need. Experts also talk about a need for close communication between the people making the entire hardware product and the people making the chips. All of this is to suggest that fabless manufacturing may have its limits and restrictions on efficacy, depending on the individual project.

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