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Intel's new 14 nm Fab 42 will be located outside Chandler, Arizona. It will cost as much as $5B USD, but will create 4,000 permanent manufacturing jobs and as many as 8,000 temporary construction jobs.  (Source: Bargain Properties Network)

The chips manufactured at the plant will have transistors that are less than half as long as those found in current generation chips. This should allow for aggressive power savings, boosting Intel's prospects in mobile devices. The plant will go live in 2013.  (Source: AP Tech)
The hardware industry's biggest player seems on a fast track to economic recovery, despite setbacks

Late last week Intel CEO Paul Otellini was named to President Barack Obama's jobs council.  This week he went to work announcing that he would be creating a bunch of jobs.  

Intel announced [press release] plans to open a $5B USD semiconductor fab, dubbed Fab 42.  Fab 42 will be located in the desert, near Chandler, Arizona, alongside the currently active Fab 32 that produces Intel's Sandy Bridge chips.  The new fab will create chips on an incredibly small 14 nanometer (nm) process, shrunk considerably from the 32 nm process that current-generation Intel CPUs are constructed on.  

For those of you who snoozed in high school physics, Intel puts this microscopic transistor size in context, stating, "A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter or the size one ninety-thousandth the width of an average human hair."

The wafers produced will measure 300 millimeters, in line with current generation yields.  By cutting thermal losses, the die shrink should help to increase the energy efficiency of Intel's CPUs -- assuming Intel can get the issue of leakage current under control.  

Brian Krzanich, senior vice president and general manager, Manufacturing and Supply Chain states, "The products based on these leading-edge chips will give consumers unprecedented levels of performance and power efficiency across a range of computing devices from high-end servers to ultra-sleek portable devices."

The plant will create 4,000 new high-tech manufacturing jobs.  Currently Intel sells three quarters of its microprocessors overseas, but manufacturers three quarters of them within the U.S.

Mr Krzanich comments, "The investment positions our manufacturing network for future growth. This fab will begin operations on a process that will allow us to create transistors with a minimum feature size of 14 nanometers. For Intel, manufacturing serves as the underpinning for our business and allows us to provide customers and consumers with leading-edge products in high volume. The unmatched scope and scale of our investments in manufacturing help Intel maintain industry leadership and drives innovation."

Word of the brand new fab facility follows news in October 2010 that Intel would be spending $6-$8B USD on facilities in Oregon and Arizona.  It's safe to assume that the remaining $1-$3B USD will be applied to retooling the Oregon facility in preparation for the next die shrink.

Together, the two projects are expected to create as many as 8,000 construction jobs.  The new plant is expected to be completed in 2013

Being on top of the game when it comes to manufacturing process is critical for Intel as it faces an impending onslaught from high-speed multi-core ARM processors in the laptop sector.  Intel recently lost as much as $1B USD when motherboards for its flagships CPU model, Sandy Bridge, were forced to be recalled due to SATA failure issues.  The chipset flaw forced Intel's partners to also recall some laptop models that bore the faulty chipset.

Still, Intel seems on a fast track to recovery, following an economic downturn for the company that began around 2006.  In 2006-2007 Intel announced 10,000 layoffs and closed several facilities.  Now it appears to be looking to re-expand, as the economic climate warms up.

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By corduroygt on 2/21/2011 12:19:14 PM , Rating: 2
At least these jobs have no risk of being filled by illegal immigrants.

RE: Nice
By Rakanishu on 2/21/2011 12:28:17 PM , Rating: 4
But who is going to pick the CPUs off the silicon wafers?

RE: Nice
By kingmotley on 2/21/2011 12:45:55 PM , Rating: 3
I knew that girl who could pick up a quarter without using her hands had a real, practical use.

RE: Nice
By quiksilvr on 2/21/2011 2:23:17 PM , Rating: 2
Quarter or rolls of quarters?

RE: Nice
By Ammohunt on 2/21/2011 4:57:07 PM , Rating: 3
Who can't pick up a quarter with their toes.. big deal!

RE: Nice
By 2uantuM on 2/21/11, Rating: 0
Moore Wins Again
By MozeeToby on 2/21/2011 1:56:37 PM , Rating: 2
Just 7 years ago, Intel themselves were saying that the smallest practical size for a transistor was 16 nm. I imagine they've shrunk the size of the transistor as a whole while keeping the size of the actual gate above 5 nm, anything smaller than 5nm and electron tunneling produces too much interference and it becomes statistically impossible to tell if the gate is open or closed.

I sure hope some research labs out there are working on things other than smaller and smaller transistors, because we're coming up to the end of performance gains through that method. I don't expect our improvements to stop, but there may be a hiccup in 5 years or so when we hit the minimum possible transistor size.

RE: Moore Wins Again
By geddarkstorm on 2/21/2011 3:23:04 PM , Rating: 3
11 nm seems the smallest process we know how to conceivably build at the moment (which Intel plans to reach by 2016). Keep in mind atoms are around 0.1 nm in size. Eventually we will have to move to an entirely new model for computing (photonic, quantum), in just a few more years.

RE: Moore Wins Again
By YashBudini on 2/21/11, Rating: 0
RE: Moore Wins Again
By Loki726 on 2/22/2011 3:47:29 AM , Rating: 2
silicon is sand... you don't need to mine it...

Here's a nice wikipedia comment "In Earth's crust, silicon is the second most abundant element after oxygen, making up 27.7% of the crust by mass."

RE: Moore Wins Again
By YashBudini on 2/22/2011 11:52:16 AM , Rating: 2
Hey look FC, another one with no sense of humor.

RE: Moore Wins Again
By Proton on 2/21/2011 11:21:54 PM , Rating: 2
Research on using the 3rd dimension is going on now. Useing height to build transistors on top of each other instead of just beside each other.
There is also the optical chip research that must be about 2 decades old by now.

RE: Moore Wins Again
By 3DoubleD on 2/22/2011 12:40:49 PM , Rating: 2
While I haven't read anything about stacked transistors, I have seen significant research into nanowire based transistors. These manipulate the 3rd dimension by passing current in/out of the substrate versus across the substrate surface. I've seen presentations from both Intel and IBM using nanowires in the "wrap gate" configuration, where the metal gate surrounds the nanowire 360 degrees. The other advantages of using nanowires include the integration of higher performing materials with cheap silicon manufacturing. Here is a paper where they used InAs nanowires in a wrap gate configuration. They were able to reach switching frequencies up to 20 GHz.

By chagrinnin on 2/21/2011 12:53:26 PM , Rating: 1
excited, and definitely releaved,...the prison phone smuggler shed a little tear.

RE: Somewhat...
By chagrinnin on 2/21/2011 6:23:28 PM , Rating: 2
lol@releaved "Alright,...who de-leafed this guy?" :P

4000 new jobs!
By msheredy on 2/21/2011 2:00:19 PM , Rating: 2
I like reading good news like this!

Is this going to be a flash fab?
By DanNeely on 2/21/2011 2:13:35 PM , Rating: 2
Intels done all their CPUs on full node processes whose progression is 22, 16, 11. Meanwhile their flash chips have been 50, 35, 25nm, which is neither full, nor half node.

By Rob94hawk on 2/21/2011 4:02:10 PM , Rating: 2
It's good to see the silicon industry creating jobs for Americans since this computer revolution was created in the USA to begin with. It's not much but whatever helps lower the unemployment rate for Americans and keeps the money circulating in this country the better! Money leaving this country does not help our economy.

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