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Thursday, 13 March 2014 11:51

Chipmakers brake on large wafer technology

Written by Nick Farrell



No demand

It is starting to look like chipmakers are having cold feet about moving to the next technology for chipmaking. Fabricating chips on larger silicon wafers is the latest cycle in a transition, but according to the Wall Street Journal chipmakers are mothballing their plans.

Companies have to make massive upfront outlays for plants and equipment and they are refusing, because the latest change could boost the cost of a single high-volume factory to as much as $10 billion from around $4 billion. Some companies have been reining in their investments, raising fears the equipment needed to produce the new chips might be delayed for a year or more.

ASML, a maker of key machines used to define features on chips, recently said it had "paused" development of gear designed to work with the larger wafers. Intel said it has slowed some payments to the Netherlands-based company under a deal to help develop the technology.

Gary Dickerson, chief executive of Applied Materials said that the move to larger wafers "has definitely been pushed out from a timing standpoint”

Nick Farrell

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