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Intel plans move to 450mm wafers

Intel plans move to 450mm wafers

Intel's current chips are build on 300mm wafers, but the company is looking to move to 450mm in order to increase output.

Intel has confirmed its intentions to migrate its fabrication plants to a 450mm wafer size, starting with its Oregon-based DX1 plant.

Speaking to Electronista, Intel's Mark Bohr, director of process architecture and integration, confirmed that the company was looking to move from the current 300mm wafer size to a more cost effective 450mm wafer size in the near future.

The company will start with the DX1 22nm plant in Oregon, which will be constructed to support both 300mm and 450mm wafer sizes side-by-side as the company prepares the plant to open in 2013.

Increasing wafer size could be a winning move for Intel: despite some complications that come as you increase the number of silicon chips you are creating on a single wafer, whether through a shrinking process size or an increase in wafer size, it holds the promise of reducing manufacturing costs and allowing Intel to turn out increasing quantities of chips even at lower yields.

It's likely that this latter factor is key in Intel's decision to make the move to 450mm: as the company invests in 22nm fabrication, there will be a period in which yields are down but demand is high - and by employing a larger wafer the company can attempt to compensate for that.

It's not yet known whether the research-centric DX1 plant will be the first to get 450mm support, or if Intel is planning on upgrading existing plants ahead of DX1's 2013 opening.

Are you pleased to see Intel working on techniques for producing processors more cost-effectively, or should the company be looking at cheaper ways of increasing yield rather than re-tooling all its fabs? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

24 Comments

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mpr 10th December 2010, 08:42 Quote
Anything that leads to intel lowering prices will in turn cause AMD to do the same. It's potential win for everyone.
mi1ez 10th December 2010, 09:30 Quote
^+1
Fanatic 10th December 2010, 10:36 Quote
Whether you actually see any of these cost savings passed on to the consumer is another matter. The more cynical amongst us may see this as a way of maximising potential profit, which afterall is what business is about.

Although any news that could 'potentially' bring about a general reduction in pricing is welcome.
l3v1ck 10th December 2010, 12:43 Quote
.
l3v1ck 10th December 2010, 12:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpr
Anything that leads to intel lowering prices will in turn cause AMD to do the same. It's potential win for everyone.
Doubt it. AMD are already so far behind, anything that puts Intel further ahead could reduce competition. AMD can't run at a loss forever. And let's not forget, competition is good for consumers.
sixfootsideburns 10th December 2010, 12:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpr
Anything that leads to intel lowering prices will in turn cause AMD to do the same. It's potential win for everyone.

AMD is already cheaper than Intel, but hopefully it will drive them to improve their production methods also. If not then they are going to continue to fall behind, giving Intel an even bigger chunk of the market which = bad.

Competition = good... monopolies = bad lol
CharlO 10th December 2010, 14:10 Quote
Cheaper Intels = Potential win.
cgthomas 10th December 2010, 15:21 Quote
This might drive and to invest more in graphics and abandon the CPU manufacturing, sine - as said above - they can't operate at loss forever
Mik3yB @ CCL 10th December 2010, 15:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by l3v1ck
Doubt it. AMD are already so far behind...

How far behind? Please provide some current (or at least recent) numbers.. ;)
schmidtbag 10th December 2010, 16:38 Quote
i don't think a bigger wafer is going to make THAT much of a difference. i'd expect a $10 drop at most. keep in mind, just because intel does something cheaper, it doesn't mean they're doing it for YOU.

for example, if apple really is going for amd next year, apple is going to be paying much less for manufacturing their computers, but if you compare an amd mac to an intel mac with near identical performance, the amd would be considerably cheaper for apple to make but the price tag for the consumer will barely change.

you can say the same about taxes. lets say you're paying taxes for your kids to go to public school. one day the taxes rise, because the teachers want to get paid more and food is getting more expensive. but then, a new private school comes along, and takes maybe 15% of the public school students. the school has a lot less to be paying for at this moment, but you're not going to see a tax drop.

the point is, if a company/organization finds cheaper ways of doing things, they're doing it for them. YOU aren't going to get anything different.
Richy1204 10th December 2010, 16:43 Quote
AMD aren't that behind
sixfootsideburns 10th December 2010, 17:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
the point is, if a company/organization finds cheaper ways of doing things, they're doing it for them. YOU aren't going to get anything different.

Thats a huge generalization man... they very well may lower their prices substantially. Though I agree that what your saying is often true there are definitely arguments that go the other way. That Intel will lower their production costs so they can lower their end prices while maintaining a consistent profit margin.

If they reduce their production costs and bring their product to the consumer at a lower price, they create an opportunity to bring their high end CPUs down to an AMD price range, creating an tremendous opportunity to take more of the market from AMD. More market means more sales, means more profit. It just depends on how much they are reducing their own costs by and what their sales/marketing teams are looking for.


on a side note I agree with your comment about Apple... but that example is talking about a company in particular who over prices everything they produce. Nice products certainly... but in no life would I pay such a premium for a nice machine in a pretty case...
Valinor 10th December 2010, 17:42 Quote
According to what I knoe of economics, if it became cheaper for intel to supply their processors then the market price of the processors would go down due to market forces.

Although the article seems to imply that intel will still get the same yield from the larger wafers; just that 22nm has a lower % yield, and so increasing the wafer size would increase actual yield... or have I completely misunderstood that (it seems to happen a lot :))
thehippoz 10th December 2010, 17:53 Quote
they might as well if they are going 22nm anyway.. sure they have their reasons- I'm a intel fanboi last couple of years though
Lazy_Amp 10th December 2010, 18:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richy1204
AMD aren't that behind

GlobalFoundaries hasn't been able to deliver on 32nm even a year after Intel came to market with it.

At least AMD's Fab is behind.
kzinti1 10th December 2010, 18:21 Quote
Let's see. Retooling plants cost a fortune, so they'll then lower prices to, what? Lose money? Intel? Have I suddenly entered some alternate universe?
Just because in the end-run Intel ultimately reduces their production costs does NOT equal lower consumer prices. It'll just increase Intel's profit margin.
Come on people! I dropped out of Economics (i.e., "How to rip-off the everyday person.") in college and even I realize this.
I'm also a fan of Intel. Ever since I could afford the best cpu's extant.
sixfootsideburns 10th December 2010, 18:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by kzinti1
Let's see. Retooling plants cost a fortune, so they'll then lower prices to, what? Lose money? Intel? Have I suddenly entered some alternate universe?
Just because in the end-run Intel ultimately reduces their production costs does NOT equal lower consumer prices. It'll just increase Intel's profit margin.
Come on people! I dropped out of Economics (i.e., "How to rip-off the everyday person.") in college and even I realize this.
I'm also a fan of Intel. Ever since I could afford the best cpu's extant.

So what about Microsoft and the x-box 360? Companies sometimes have long term business plans to return their investment lol, maybe you should have stayed in econ mate. What you said is definitely true, but its not true 100% of the time. Again its a huge assumption about Intel's intentions. I definitely think what your saying is a more likely scenario but just for the sake of playing Devils advocate, its not the only scenario thats possible
schmidtbag 11th December 2010, 00:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by sixfootsideburns
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
the point is, if a company/organization finds cheaper ways of doing things, they're doing it for them. YOU aren't going to get anything different.

Thats a huge generalization man... they very well may lower their prices substantially. Though I agree that what your saying is often true there are definitely arguments that go the other way. That Intel will lower their production costs so they can lower their end prices while maintaining a consistent profit margin.

If they reduce their production costs and bring their product to the consumer at a lower price, they create an opportunity to bring their high end CPUs down to an AMD price range, creating an tremendous opportunity to take more of the market from AMD. More market means more sales, means more profit. It just depends on how much they are reducing their own costs by and what their sales/marketing teams are looking for.


on a side note I agree with your comment about Apple... but that example is talking about a company in particular who over prices everything they produce. Nice products certainly... but in no life would I pay such a premium for a nice machine in a pretty case...

i see what you mean, but the reason i feel intel won't lower their prices is because they easily could have already. amd can't afford to keep the prices they're at right now, they're doing it because its the only way they're going to get any business. intel made $11 BILLION in the last quarter. all of their products are expensive, so i think they're charging what they are because they know people will buy it. if you are the best at something or the only one of your kind, then you can charge whatever you want and get away with it. however, if amd's new CPUs end up being better than intel's (which i think is probable considering the apple situation), their customers are used to their low prices. they will lose a lot of their targeted audience if they charge the most just because they're the best. people are used to intel being expensive, so whether intel keeps their prices or drops them, they're still going to profit.
sixfootsideburns 11th December 2010, 02:16 Quote
agreed, haha. Hopefully AMDs new chips are as good as they've sounded thus far!
punkdown 12th December 2010, 06:05 Quote
I think you probably mean D1X...
Jehla 12th December 2010, 09:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by sixfootsideburns
So what about Microsoft and the x-box 360? Companies sometimes have long term business plans to return their investment lol, maybe you should have stayed in econ mate. What you said is definitely true, but its not true 100% of the time. Again its a huge assumption about Intel's intentions. I definitely think what your saying is a more likely scenario but just for the sake of playing Devils advocate, its not the only scenario thats possible

I've never studied economics. From what I understand games company's are able to their console at a loss since they will get the money back from game sales.

Since Intel do not sell accessories for their products and do not get a cut from games sold it would seem the long term investment of running at a loss would be no money.
Yslen 12th December 2010, 14:46 Quote
I don't think Intel is going after AMD's market share with this one. It makes much more sense for them to keep prices as they are and reduce overheads to increase profit.

Also, I thought AMD was making a profit on each CPU they sell now? I was under the impression they've only been operating at a loss recently because they've dumped a load of cash into R&D.
HourBeforeDawn 13th December 2010, 03:13 Quote
I doubt we will see prices drop on a consumer side remember they care about their wallets and bonuses more then they care about how much we want to save. ;)
Xir 13th December 2010, 11:06 Quote
Quote:
It's not yet known whether the research-centric DX1 plant will be the first to get 450mm support, or if Intel is planning on upgrading existing plants ahead of DX1's 2013 opening.
Not likely, as there's no volume production of 450mm wafers yet, nor are there production machines for the entire process.

It is good news though, because when Intel leaps the gate, the other manufacturers will follow, and 450mm technology becomes established.
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