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Intel Corp., the world’s largest maker of x86 chips, has opened its new facility in Leixlip, Ireland. The event marks Intel’s third chip factory using its 65nm process technology and also crossover between 65nm and 90nm processors shipments. The new fab is set to produce processors based on the energy-efficient Core micro-architecture.

“Intel’s ability to ramp advanced 65nm silicon technology into high-volume production in three factories clearly sets us apart. The combination of 65nm technology and Intel's new Core microarchitecture changes the game in terms of the benefits we can provide our customers,” said Paul Otellini, chief executive of Intel

The $2 billion factory uses 300mm wafers for manufacturing using its 65nm process technology. The firm claims that large wafers and to-date thinnest  fabrication process provides the Fab  24-2 with “the potential to generate the world’s highest microprocessor output at the lowest cost”. Intel also produces multi-core processors on its Fab 12 in Arizona and D1D fab in Oregon.

Demonstrating the speed of its 65nm volume ramp, Intel has achieved an important manufacturing milestone with its three 65nm factories. Known as manufacturing “cross-over”, it means that Intel is currently producing more than half its PC and server microprocessors using this industry-leading process technology. During a ceremony to officially open the Ireland factory, Mr. Otellini said that the 300mm wafers that began running through the new facility three months ago helped the company reach this milestone.

Intel said it was also on track to begin production using its next-generation 45nm process technology by the end of 2007, two years after it started production using its 65nm process technology.

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