AMD to open US chip fab

Advanced Micro Devices will open a US$3.2 billion chip fabrication plant in New York State to produce 300-millimeter wafer chips, said the company Friday in a joint announcement with New York state officials.

The 1.2-million square-foot plant will be headquartered in Luther Forest Technology Park, in Saratoga County, New York, and is expected to employ some 1,200 employees as well as create thousands of other jobs, said New York Governor George Pataki. New York State is providing some US$900 million in incentives for the facility, including capital grant assistance, research and development subsidies and cash refunds of tax credits.

Construction of the facility, which will mark AMD's only U.S.-based chip fabrication plant, is slated to start sometime between 2007 and 2009 and conclude between 2012 and 2014.

The new plant will use 32-nanometer (nm) technology, meaning that the components in the processors it builds will be a good deal smaller than the 90 nm parts used in its current line of chips.

Last month, AMD said it would spend US$2.5 billion to expand its chip manufacturing operations in Dresden, Germany. As part of that expansion, the company plans to upgrade an existing plant, called Fab 30, from 200mm to 300mm wafer production, and to expand production at an existing 300mm plant, called Fab 36.

The fab will help AMD meet demand for PCs and server chips. In recent years, AMD has gained share from market leader Intel, particularly in sales of x86 server chips.

Worldwide semiconductor sales are expected to grow by nearly 10 percent to about US$249.6 billion in 2006, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association.

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Shelley Solheim

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