Intel Plans $5 Billion Investment For 10nm Production
Samuel Wan / 4 weeks ago
Intel Moving More Fabs to 10nm
As one of the preeminent fabs in the world, Intel has many facilities around the world. While most of them are in the USA, there are a few exceptions. One such is the fab in Israel which is currently producing 300mm wafers on the 22nm process. To prepare for the transition to 10nm and beyond, Intel is planning to upgrade the facility. The Kiryat Gat plant will be getting a massive $5 billion upgrade to move to 10nm.
Due to long lifetimes, Intel often keeps several fabs on older process nodes. This allows Intel to leapfrog develop and separate the fabs from the latest chips. If all the fabs move to the latest process, and there are delays, that would impact production of current chips. Furthermore, by staggering the upgrades, it allows Intel to always have fabs rolling out chips. While 14nm is the current default, there are still 22nm fabs making older enterprise chips still. These fabs are now making the shift over to 10nm.
Israeli Investment Makes Sense for Intel
The $5 billion investment into Kiryat Gat will allow 10nm production at the fab. At this point, it is unclear if the investment is just for new production equipment for 10nm, or also expanded fab space. Previous reports have suggested that 10nm requires more sophisticated and bulky equipment. That would require an expansion of the fab to accommodate the new equipment. Intel expects the upgrade to be complete by 2020 and full production to begin that same year.
The Israeli team at Intel has always been on the cutting edge of the company. The current Core design traces its roots from Pentium M design created by the Israeli team. Kiryat Gat is among the first fabs to get the 10nm upgrade. The Israeli government is also throwing in a sweetener with various grants and incentives. However, we are expecting 10nm chips to be available sometime in 2018. This suggests that perhaps Intel will have supply difficulties at first and a more limited and smaller launch. Hopefully, 10nm won’t be facing any more major delays.
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