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Intel invests big for faster and smaller chips

Intel continues to invest billions to drive its architecture forward

Intel has announced it will be spending $7billion over the next two years to establish a new 32nm manufacturing process. Predictably that means we'll get smaller, faster and more energy efficient processors.

Intel has confirmed that the first chips to be produced using the new process will be codenamed Westmere, a die-shrink of Nehalem which adds graphics circuitry onto the processor.

The 32nm tech will result in minute chip circuitry that's 32 billionths of a meter across. That's about a millionth of an inch-wide, incredibly small, atomic level structures. Today's latest-gen Core 2 (Nehalem) chips are fabbed using the 45nm process.

Huge investment

All the cash will go into new manufacturing facilities in the US. Intel already makes 75 per cent of its output there.

"We're investing in America to keep Intel and our nation at the forefront of innovation," said President and CEO Paul Otellini in a statement.

"These manufacturing facilities will produce the most advanced computing technology in the world. The capabilities of our 32nm factories are truly extraordinary, and the chips they produce will become the basic building blocks of the digital world, generating economic returns far beyond our industry."

We'll have more details on the announcement later.