by Anton Shilov
01/15/2014 | 11:27 PM
Intel Corp. said on Wednesday that it has enough 14nm manufacturing capacities to support volume ramp of its next-generation microprocessors code-named Broadwell. The world’s largest chipmaker will have numerous fabs ready to produce central processing units and other products using 14nm process technology in the coming month.
“We have the capacity we need and the ability to scale as needed,” said Chuck Mulloy, a spokesman for Intel, when asked whether Intel has enough 14nm-capable manufacturing capacities to start volume production of the code-named Broadwell chips later this year.
Intel’s forthcoming Broadwell micro-architecture resembles existing Haswell micro-architecture, but contains a number of tweaks aimed to improve performance and boost battery life. Since the new chips will be made using thinner process technology, it is logical to expect higher energy-efficiency and/or additional clock-speed potential. The first Broadwell chips are expected to hit the market in Q3 2013.
Previously it was reported that Intel had decided to delay installation of equipment into its latest fab 42 facility in Chandler, Arizona. The chipmaker made decision not to equip the fab to make chips using 14nm process technology, but to leave the building for future manufacturing tools and process technologies.
Initial fabs to produce new-generation microprocessors based on the code-named Broadwell micro-architecture using 14nm process technology will be D1D and D1X module 1 in Hillsboro, Oregon. Besides, Intel has converted (and continues to convert) its existing fab 32 to 14nm process technology. While the fab 24 in Ireland remains in the roadmap for conversion to 14nm, the company does not have any schedules at the moment.
“D1D is the development fab and first production will come out of that facility. The Intel Arizona site is the lead site for high volume manufacturing of our newest 14nm manufacturing process. All existing fab capacity in Arizona [except fab 42] is capable of manufacturing on both 22nm and the newest 14nm processes,” said Mr. Mulloy.
Originally, Fab 42 was supposed to produce chips using 14nm process technology on 300mm wafers. In case Intel does not require additional 14nm manufacturing capacity, the fab will be used to make chips at 10nm or even thinner nodes, which require different types of equipment than those used to manufacture processors using 14nm or 22nm fabrication processes.
“Through an ongoing drive in manufacturing efficiencies Intel was able to continue to use its existing buildings for 14nm. This allows us to maintain the new building for additional capacity flexibility and future technologies,” explained the representative for Intel.