Intel Backs ASML for Next-Generation Chipmaking Technology
July 10, 2012 9:24 AM
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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.
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,
, and tablets.
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."
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14nm CPUs on 450mm wafer!
7/10/2012 4:28:17 PM
Ivy Bridge is 22nm and there's room for about 555 of them on a 300mm wafer. (
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!
7/10/2012 4:31:44 PM
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!
7/11/2012 2:57:53 PM
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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