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Intel chips moving to 450mm wafer size

Intel looking to change its wafers
Intel looking to change its wafers

Intel has confirmed that it plans to move from 300mm to a 450 mm wafer size in 2013.

The change is planned to happen at the company DX1 22nm plant, which is going to be built in Oregon, and made to handle both wafer sizes initially.

The 450mm wafer size promises to be more cost efficient by reducing manufacturing costs and letting Intel produce greater quantities of chips that have lower yields (the amount of working chips produced).

Going to a larger wafer size allows the company to satisfy the increased demand even with the lower yield that will be almost inevitable as it moves more to 22nm production.

Wafer thin mint?

There can be problems involved with increasing the number of silicon chips on a wafer, and the new 450 mm wafer could face these. Both increasing the wafer size and shrinking the process size could give some headaches.

Intel is trusting that the lower manufacturing costs will more than compensate for this. To date Intel hasn't said whether other plants might be upgraded to support the bigger wafers in advance of its flagship DX1 plant.

All that's certain is that it's coming soon.