Intel to begin chip production on 450 mm wafers in 2012

Logo IntelIntel said that it has reached an agreement with Samsung and TSMC to enable a 450 mm wafer-based chip production by 2012. Like the transition to 300 mm, which Intel introduced with its 130 nm processor generation in 2001, 450 mm wafers will help the semiconductor industry to scale the economics of chip manufacturing. Intel is expected to use the technology first for its 22 nm products, which are expected to debut in late 2011.

For some companies in the semiconductor industry, 300 mm wafers are still new and certainly not all chip manufacturers have completed their transition from 200 mm. Intel??™s intent to push chip production to 450 mm wafers does not come unexpected and in fact was widely believed to be put in place for 22 nm processors. However, the announcement is yet another sign of the divide between the bleeding edge of chip manufacturing and those who are trying to keep up.

The total silicon surface area available on a 450 mm wafer and the number of printed dies is more than twice that of a 300 mm wafer. While the investment into a new wafer size is mind-boggling and is generally believed to be affordable only for those chip companies with more than $10 billion in annual revenues, the production cost per chip decreases dramatically.

Intel said that it has reached an agreement with two other industry heavy-weights, Samsung Electronics and TSMC, on the need for industry-wide collaboration to target a transition to larger, 450mm-sized wafers starting in 2012.

The three companies plan to ???cooperate with the semiconductor industry to help ensure that all of the required components, infrastructure and capability are developed and tested for a pilot line by [2012]???.

In the past, migration to the next larger wafer size traditionally began every 10 years after the last transition. For example, the industry began the transition to 300 mm wafers in 2001, a decade after the initial 200 mm manufacturing facilities were introduced in 1991.

Source: TG Daily

Tags: Intel, Samsung, TSMC

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