HILLSBORO, Ore. Intel Corp. said that it is considering a plan to build a new development fab in Oregon, which could possibly become the world’s first 450-mm facility.
During a press and analyst conference here on Wednesday (Nov. 30), officials from Intel acknowledged that the chip giant has the so-called D1E wafer fab on its manufacturing roadmap in Hillsboro. Reports have recently surfaced about the proposed and advanced D1E fab (see Nov. 30 story).
The D1E fab is expected to be located near the company’s D1D plant, a 300-mm facility that is manufacturing 65-nm designs. The DID fab, which has been in production since 2003, is also the key R&D site for chips based on 45-nm process technologies.
Intel is still in the planning stages with the D1E fab. It is unclear if D1E would become a 300- or 450-mm fab. A decision could be reached within the next two or so years.
The company said it would consider turning D1E into a 450-mm fab depending on market requirements and if the appropriate tools are ready.
The shift towards 450-mm wafer fabs is expected to be a major challenge. In addition to the astronomical costs, few if any chip-equipment vendors can afford to build 450-mm tools.
Still, Intel claims 450-mm fabs are inevitable. “Some day, it will happen,” said Andy Bryant, senior vice president and chief financial officer of Intel, during a presentation at the company’s manufacturing and technology summit. “I don’t want to debate when that will happen.”