As Intel Corp.'s 65nm factories go online, the world's largest chipmaker is projected to start using its 90nm manufacturing technology to make chipsets. The decision may ease tight supply of Intel's core-logic products as the company's fabs that manufacture using 90nm process tech can make more products.
Certain analysts and industry sources recently predicted that Intel's forthcoming family of chipsets, such as code-named Broadwater core-logic, will be produced using 90nm process technology, which is currently used to make central processing units (CPUs) of the company. The decision will add manufacturing capacities to the firm's chipset business and will allow the company to ship more core-logic components. As Intel's microprocessor business shifts to 65nm, more 90nm capacities will be available for chipset manufacturing in addition to already available 130nm fabs.
Currently the majority of Intel Corp.'s chipsets are manufactured using 130nm (or 0.13 micron) fabrication process and using 200mm wafers. By contrast, all Intel's fabs that can make products using 90nm technology process larger 300mm wafers.
Manufacturing with 300mm wafers increases the ability to produce semiconductors at a lower cost compared with more widely used 200mm wafers. The total silicon surface area of a 300mm wafer is 225% higher compared to 200mm wafer, and the number of printed die (individual computer chips) is increased to 240%. The bigger wafers lower the production cost per chip while diminishing overall use of resources, as manufacturing with 300mm wafers uses 40% less energy and water per chip.
Intel is expected to have five 300mm fabs operating by the end of 2005. Among them are Fab 11X in New Mexico, D1D and D1C in Oregon, Fab 24 in Ireland and Fab 12X in Arizona. Two of them ?D1D in Orgegon and Fab 12C in Arizona ?produce using 65nm process technologies, whereas others utilize 90nm process technology. Eventually, Intel's fabs D1D, D1C in Oregon, 12C in Arizona and 24E in Ireland will make chips using 65nm process technology.
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