New Intel factory to accelerate 45nm chip production

The 'Fab 32' will use the 45-nm manufacturing process to produce chips for servers, PCs, mobile phones and consumer devices

Intel this week is expected to open a new factory to accelerate the production of chips using a 45-nanometer manufacturing process, slated to be used for its upcoming Penryn chips.

The 'Fab 32', in Arizona, will use the 45-nm manufacturing process to produce chips for servers, PCs, mobile phones and consumer devices, according to Intel.

"The opening of this fab means that we've now moved into high-volume production of our 45nm chips," said Kari Aakre, an Intel spokeswoman. Intel's been making 45nm chips for a year now in a development fab in Oregon, which isn't high-volume, Aakre said.

Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini said last month that Intel plans to introduce 15 new 45-nm processors by the end of the year and 20 in the first quarter of 2008. Penryn chips for servers and workstations will be introduced on November 12.

Intel will also use the 45-nm manufacturing process for Silverthorne, a low-power Intel architecture designed for ultramobile devices, mobile Internet devices and low-cost PCs. Silverthorne chips will appear early next year.

Next year it will add factories in Israel and New Mexico to produce 45nm chips. The new fabs will help Intel meet its projection to ship more 45nm chips than 65-nm chips by the third quarter of 2008, Aakre said.

Intel currently ships 65nm chips, and Penryn is the code name given to the 4-5nm "shrink" of Intel's current chip designs. The measurements refer to the size of the features on the silicon chip.

Penryn's successor, the 45-nm 'Nehalem' processor, will appear in 2008. At Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco last month, Otellini demonstrated Nehalem, saying it would deliver better performance-per-watt and better system performance through its QuickPath Interconnect system architecture. Nehalem chips will also include an integrated memory controller and improved communication links between system components.

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Agam Shah

IDG News Service

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