by Anton Shilov
10/31/2010 | 01:26 PM
Throughout its history Intel Corp. has been developing its process technologies all by its own. However, with 10nm manufacturing process even the world's largest maker of chips may form a research alliance with other semiconductor companies.
According to Japanese-language Nikkei business daily news-paper (cited by Reuters news-agency) Intel, Toshiba and Samsung will "form a consortium shortly and invite about 10 firms operating in semiconductor materials and related fields". Japan's ministry of economy, trade and industry will likely provide around ¥5 billion ($61.21 million) of the roughly ¥10 billion in initial funds for the R&D efforts, with the rest expected to come from the members of the consortium, the paper said.
10nm process technology is projected to be utilized sometime in 2016, according to the report.
According to the report, Samsung and Toshiba will use 10nm manufacturing technology to produce NAND flash memory, whereas Intel intends to use the fabrication process to make new microprocessors. Given the fact that production technologies for microprocessors and flash memory are substantially different, as well as the fact that Intel also manufactures NAND memory, it is more likely that the company will use jointly developed 10nm process to make flash memory and not x86 chips.
It is noteworthy that Samsung and Toshiba also take part in the so-called IBM fab club, which develops process technologies for highly-integrated devices, such as microprocessors. It will be interesting to see the two semiconductor companies leaving the tech alliance to form a new one with Intel. The latter also jointly makes flash memory with Micron, with whom it has a joint-venture, and it will be strange for the world's largest chipmaker to cease that cooperation.
Intel, Samsung and Toshiba did not comment on the news-story.