Last modified on Tuesday, 06 May 2008 20:04
Intel has reached an agreement with Samsung Electronics and TSMC to try to make 450mm sized wafers and to start the production with these much bigger wafers in 2012.
This transition will help Intel and others to grow the semiconductor industry and more space you have on the wafer will get you more chips and eventually more profit.
Currently, the best that Intel and everyone else can do is a 300mm wafer and with 450mm you will be able to place more than two times as many chips.
Manufacturing with larger wafers helps increase the ability to produce semiconductors at a lower cost. The last of these transitions happened when Intel and others went from 200mm wafers to 300mm and this definitely reduced the price of a chip, as you can simply put much more on a single wafer.
In the past, migration to the next wafer size traditionally began every 10 years, and the last big one was from 200 mm to 300mm that took place in 2001. The 200mm fabs and wafers were introduced in 1991.
If all goes well Intel and the others will begin the transition in 2012 and this might actually indicate that this time they will be one year late, as it will be 11 years since the last major transition.
If these guys are ready to start working with 450mm wafers in 2012, AMD will probably need an additional year or two to catch up.