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Intel takes a 15% stake in ASML

ASML isn't a household name, but there's a high likelihood that you're using devices with processors made on its chipmaking devices. ASML makes the equipment that companies such as Intel, Samsung Electronics, and TSMC use to construct the processors and other chips inside gadgets of all sorts. Reuters reports that ASML approached its three biggest customers, including Intel, and asked them to help fund R&D in exchange for shares in the company.
 
ASML offered Intel, TSMC, and Samsung Electronics up to 25% of the shares for bankrolling the research and development of next-generation technology. Intel has already agreed to bankroll some of the research and development for ASML and the development could lead to significantly cheaper processors and other chips that consume less power. 
 
"We're talking about $50 tablets," said Richard Windsor, Nomura's global technology specialist. "This brings into the realms of possibility a technology that we thought wasn't feasible and opens up the possibility for greater cost reductions."
 
Intel announced this week that it would spend $4 billion on up to 15% of ASML shares and would further fund research. TSMC is also said to be considering a similar deal. If ASML only wants to give up 25% of its outstanding shares, that only leaves 10% for TSMC and could mean Samsung Electronics ends up with nothing.
 
The investment was a no-brainer for Intel because the company is looking to speed the adoption of next generation chip manufacturing processes by as much as two years. Speeding the adoption of the technology would mean higher performing chips and longer battery life for notebooks, smartphones, and tablets. 
 
Reuters reports that ASML is looking to mitigate the risk of developing new 450 mm wafer equipment and extreme ultraviolet or EUV lithography equipment development as much as possible.
 
"The transition from one wafer size to the next has historically delivered a 30 to 40 percent reduction in die cost," Intel Chief Operating Officer Brian Krzanich said in a statement. "The faster we do this, the sooner we can gain the benefit of productivity improvements."

Sources: Reuters, Intel



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An asinine statement if there ever were one
By Shadowself on 7/10/2012 10:41:58 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
"We're talking about $50 tablets," said Richard Windsor, Nomura's global technology specialist.

The ARM based and Intel chips in tablets are << 25% of the cost of the tablets. Even if the chips were FREE the price of a nominal $199 tablet would still be at least $149. Even if all the digital components were free the price would still be over $50 (assuming they're not being sold at a loss).

We'll eventually see $50 tablets, but there will have to be a LOT of other innovations in areas such as batteries, screens, RF implementations, etc. to bring the cost down that far.




RE: An asinine statement if there ever were one
By vignyan on 7/10/2012 11:00:27 AM , Rating: 2
There are $99 or lower tablets out there - but very few people are interested. Cheap tablets does not mean much (atleast from business perspective). People want better laptops at cheaper (not this cheap) price. For example,

I want a $400 or so tablet that has hardware of a Microsoft Surface Pro in a surface RT size, thermals and battery life with the screen of ipad 3.


By NellyFromMA on 7/10/2012 2:40:54 PM , Rating: 2
Cool. I want a Ferrarri for the price of an Oldsmobile that looks like a Maserati too.


By StevoLincolnite on 7/10/2012 4:13:10 PM , Rating: 2
You could probably hit the $50 mark if you followed the same business model that Microsoft and Sony set out with the consoles and what Amazon did with the Kindle...

In other words sell the device at a loss, make up for it with sales from Music, Video, Apps, eBooks and games.

However, that would probably only work if you pushed the hardware, OS and the services much like Apple and Amazon so you can take your cut.


By Fritzr on 7/10/2012 6:23:27 PM , Rating: 2
Not available outside of India yet (Philadelphia PA, USA is looking at buying them for local schools), but there are tablets being manufactured and sold at a profit for US$60 to US$70. The CPU is a small part of the BOM, but any reduction in price for a component reduces the minimum sell price.

Also there is no reason that the ASML process can't be used for the other semiconducter parts in the machine. Even Intel produces chips that are not CPUs.

Then there is the Funtab available for R4000 (about $75) and the Fonetab for R7000 (about $117) 7" Android 2.2 tablets. The Fonetab accepts a standard SIM and is a 7" phone (GSM 1900/1800) These are available overseas :)

Costs are dropping fast. Lower prices on mainstream CPUS won't hurt a bit :P


By IntelUser2000 on 7/10/2012 11:34:52 AM , Rating: 2
I really think there's a practical limit to how much prices can be lowered. Chip-making equipment alone takes billions and billions of dollars, and you'll need to sell heck of a lot of chips inside a $50 device to pay for all that.

It's extremely unrealistic.


By NellyFromMA on 7/10/2012 2:44:34 PM , Rating: 2
You can buy a pantech tablets for like $99 today. It is an utter POS as it essentially a crippled mega sized Android 2.0 device, but it's not THAT unrealistic. You will just get what you pay for is all..

Unless, the manufacturer takes a loss on hopes of regaining on other purchases


Makes sense:
By Manch on 7/10/2012 10:01:11 AM , Rating: 2
Considering Intel is doing all it can to shrink X86 as small as possible to beat ARM, this is a smart move for them.

This will help push the convergence of tablets/laptops/desktops further along.

The only bad is eventually when you blast that terminators head open it will probably say "intel inside"




RE: Makes sense:
By Ticholo on 7/10/2012 10:03:15 AM , Rating: 1
If you blast it open, is it still inside?
But the important question: is there an Angry Birds version for it?


RE: Makes sense:
By Manch on 7/10/2012 10:11:27 AM , Rating: 2
Im going to go with yes, unless it falls out. If you blast it apart...then no

Well, theres angry birds for everything else...


RE: Makes sense:
By senecarr on 7/10/2012 10:47:45 AM , Rating: 2
Well of course there's an Angry Birds version inside the terminator. Why do you think they started attacking humans in the first place? All the chip manufacturing plants we owned looked like nests to them, and all the eggs looked like chips.


14nm CPUs on 450mm wafer!
By Shig on 7/10/2012 4:28:17 PM , Rating: 2
Ivy Bridge is 22nm and there's room for about 555 of them on a 300mm wafer. (http://www.anandtech.com/show/4386/a-quick-look-at...

A 32nm Sandybridge quad core was ~216mm^2 and a 22nm Ivy Bridge quad core was ~162mm^2 (8.1mm x 20mm). Let's say it's roughly the same decrease in mm^2 from 22nm->14nm (52mm^2). A 14nm quad core cpu would be somewhere around 110mm^2 (6.8mm x 16.2mm).

That would mean on a 450mm wafer you could fit ~66 die up and ~27 die across. You'd go from a wafer capable of making 555 cpus (22nm CPUs on 300mm wafer) to a wafer capable of making 1782 cpus (14nm CPUs on 450mm wafer).

Intel could have a very profitable business just as a foundry, they wouldn't even have to develop their own chips.




RE: 14nm CPUs on 450mm wafer!
By Shig on 7/10/2012 4:31:44 PM , Rating: 2
My math is a bit sketchy, I just wanted to show the dramatic increase in chips produced per wafer that this new R&D funding is going towards.

You'd probably be able to put like 10,000 ARM cpu's on a 14nm process using 450mm wafers.


RE: 14nm CPUs on 450mm wafer!
By JKflipflop98 on 7/11/2012 2:57:53 PM , Rating: 2
The problem with the whole situation is that Intel is the only company that wants to move to 450mm. The majority of the industry is just now really hitting it's stride on 300mm. So either Intel has to wait until it's competitors are ready to move on, or they have to completely fund all this themselves. Then the question becomes "is it worth funding this research that my competitors can later use for free in exchange for 2.5x the die-per-wafer now?

There are many, many accountants hammering out those numbers right now.


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