Intel Invests $2B in 65-Nano

Looking for a bit of the luck of the Irish, Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel is adding a bit of its own green to its holdings in Ireland.

The chipmaking giant said is investing $2 billion into extended manufacturing facilities at its Fab 24-2 plant to enable 65-nanometer process technology . Intel invested $2 billion in the original Fab 24 four years ago. The idea is to extend the company’s 15-year record of meeting or beating Moore’s Law and churning out a new process generation every two years.

“We are about to begin production in Fab 24, our newest 300-mm manufacturing facility,” Bob Baker, Intel senior vice president, Technology Manufacturing Group said in a statement. “This additional investment in the factory will help ensure that we have leading-edge manufacturing capacity to meet customer needs in 2006.”

Intel’s investment will provide for an additional cleanroom manufacturing space of 60,000 square feet. Fab 24 already has 135,000 square feet of cleanroom and 1 million square feet at the total facility. The $2 billion dollar investment will also pay for new equipment that will enable production of 65-nm technology at both the existing and the new Fab 24-2 plants

The Intel investment was made in tandem with the Irish Development Authority (IDA), which will provide various grants and incentives to Intel. Intel has invested approximately $6 billion dollars in its Irish operations since 1989.

“The performance of our workforce in Ireland and our relationship with the government helped make this investment decision possible,” Bob Baker, Intel senior vice president, Technology Manufacturing Group in a statement.

Intel has used its 65-nm process before at its fabrication plant in Hillsborough, Oregon (also known as D1D) to make fully functional SRAM chips with a very small cell size.

But Intel’s future is certainly the sub-90 nanometer space, which is becoming one of the fastest emerging areas in the sector. Currently, the company is shipping its Pentium 4 ‘Prescott’ processor based on the 90-nm process. The company’s vision is to take its 65-nm technology and include it in its dual-core processor designs with more than a billion transistors on a chip.

Beyond 90-nm, Intel has set a tentative roadmap to release 65-nm processors by 2006, 45-nm ones by 2007 and 32-nm chips sometime in 2009.

Intel is not alone when it comes to sub 90-nm aspirations. Texas Instruments recently announced it will release a 65-nm wireless processor in the first quarter of 2005. IBM’s East Fishkill, N.Y facility is also gearing up for 65-nm, and recently received a $325 million dollar investment from Sony with the intention of using the technology to power the next generation of Playstation consoles and other consumer electronics devices.

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