@dnenni: Daniel, you may be right on this one, it may be another 5 years before we see production volume in 450mm wafers. It is more of a scenario where Intel may have a design that can exploit 450mm and they will fit the process to that design, it is not the other way around. If leading IDM's take this approach, the 450nm will remain accessible to a select few.
One often disregards the supporting cast of the ecosystem when it comes to 450mm wafer discussion; for example, the test solution providers for wafer probing; it was hard enough to get the 300mm wafer probing solution developed for Intel's flash memory products that some businesses went belly up doing just that. Few remain operating by a threadbare margin.
My point is that the discussion of migrating to 450mmm wafer needs to be put in a holistic perspective, especially when Intel is so selective in where it wants to participate in that ecosystem.
Dr. MP Divakar
Let me revise your question like that, Did 200mm or 150mm make any sense?
Answer is clear, yes they did, changed the global semiconductor market. Made more chips with less costs. Yeah its true 450mm is kind of premature, needs lots of attention and spendings however bigger is the better. More space to produce less worry about yields. ASML and Nikon has good projects for future of 450mm. i hope it will be accepted by all semi fellows rapidly.
Well, Intel is an international business and business do make decisions based on what makes sense for the stock holders and not purley on the political climate in one region of it's business. Aguing that Intel should do what's right for the US because the headquarters is in the US is like asking Google to pay their fair share of taxes. Think that's going to happen?
The cost of 450mm wafer fab is certainly an issue but as the cost at 15nm or 11nm node will be an huge issue in itself then it makes more sense to cancel the high cost of the nodes with going for larger wafer. I expect that most of the foundries will not be able to bear the huge initial investment of 450mm fab so there will be partnerships and collaborations.
I think that 15nm and 11nm will be quite interesting nodes as the cost will certainly be an issue with double patterning or even quadrapatterning. I do not see any other technology replacing conventional lithography in 4/5 yrs.
Like Reagan's Star Wars program,
Intel could be feigning the 450mm to suck Samsung
into an over-spending trap. Protectionist Samsung would try to do the 450mm utilizing their Korean supply chain. It would fail, sapping Samsung's R&D resources.
Long term 450 mm makes sense but only for a limited set of semiconductor products with the volumes to achieve the cost benefits. The key question regarding 450 mm is how to get it done. Is there a smarter way (than 300 mm project) to fund and develop the technology?