Chip giant Intel Corp. has already said that it will be running 14-nm FinFET process technology at DX1 and Fab 42 wafer fabs in the United States and at Fab 24 Leixlip, Ireland and so it is entirely natural that thoughts should turn to where the next process node will be installed.
Israel lost out to Ireland in the last internal competition but it looks like Maxine Fassberg, general manager of Intel Israel, is lobbying to try and ensure that Israel gets a chance to show what it can do at the 10 nanometer node, which would almost certainly imply 450-mm diameter wafers and an enormous spend on infrastructure.
Fassberg said that Intel would probably make decisions about 10-nm during 2013, according to reports that covered a news conference on Sunday (Feb. 17). Intel has its Fab 28 at Kiryat Gat, Israel, the output of which made a significant contribution to Israeli exports and balance of trade in 2012.
"We need to get a decision far enough in advance to be able to upgrade the plant. So for 10 nanometer, decisions will need to be made this year," Reuters reported Fassberg as saying.
The idea would likely be to upgrade Fab 28, but the expense would still involve several billions of dollars, she reportedly added.
Inward investors can usually demand large amounts of financial support from countries in return for creating employment. Intel has invested more than $10 billion in Israel over the past decade and received about $1.3 billion in grants, according to the Reuters account.
However, the security situation in the country has, in the past, harmed the local company's ability to press its suit with its parent. Intel Israel will need both political and financial help from the Israel government to persuade Intel to renew its engagement there. For small countries such as Israel and Ireland the outcome of such negotiations could have an enormous impact on the wealth of the country for years to come.
Related links and articles:
Ireland still set for FinFETs, says Intel exec
Israel gives Intel ultimatum on fab grant
Report: Intel chooses Ireland over Israel