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Intel’s 0.13 micron gamble

Ronald Hanaki
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No doubt feeling the pressure from AMD, Techweb reported on November 7 that Intel is aggressively ramping from the 0.18 micron process to the 0.13 micron process:

Claiming to take the lead in chip manufacturing, Intel Corp. Tuesday entered the 0.13-micron race by announcing a new process technology complete with copper-interconnects and low-k dielectrics.

ASCII news (Japan) is reporting that Intel is gearing up for a Q1 2001 release of desktop processors based on the 0.13 micron process. High volume manufacturing of Northwood (0.13 micron process Pentium 4) or mobile Pentium III as early as Q1? According to the news story, Intel has been working on this process for 2 years. The 0.13 micron process will allow Intel to shrink the gate size in their transistors to 70 nm. It was reported in the Techweb article that “Fab20” in Oregon will be the first to ramp to the 0.13 micron process. This will happen in March 2001. In Q3 2001, Arizona’s “Fab22” and New Mexico’s “D2” will make the transition followed in Q4 by Ireland’s “Fab24 ” and Massachusetts’ “Fab17.” This will make five 200-mm plants capable of manufacturing at the 0.13 micron process by the end of 2001. Q1 2002 will mark the debut of Oregon’s “D1C,” a 300-mm plant capable of manufacturing at the 0.13 micron process and by Q3 2003 all Intel fabs will be 0.13 micron process capable. There will be a new process technology at this time. It is not clear whether or not this will be the 0.10 micron process or something even smaller. While Intel accelerates the transition to the 0.13 micron process, speculation is that the cost of Northwood (how about Tualatin?) will also increase as well. The article has pictures illustrating Intel’s plans.

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