02-09-2017, 03:51 AM
Quote:Now, Intel has announced that it will be bringing Fab 42 online, but not as a 14nm facility. Instead, Fab 42 will be brought online at the 7nm node, and to be online within 3-4 years. Intel expects to create approximately 3,000 jobs directly, with a 10,000-job impact on Arizona itself. Semiconductor manufacturing work in Arizona pays a median wage of $22 per hour (~$46,000 per year) according to the BLS. That’s not fabulous, but a family with two full-time earners at that pay rate would be well above the median household income in the United States.
One possibility is that Intel decided to build Fab 42 out so it would have a near-new fab to deploy Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography, or EUV. The company has previously stated that it doesn’t anticipate introducing EUV before the 5nm node, which would put it roughly six years away from now. If the now-cancelled 450mm wafer initiative could’ve sparked new capital expenditures, the EUV rollout (if it ever happens) could be even harder to retrofit into existing facilities. At present, EUV equipment requires vastly more power and cooling to operate compared to 193nm ArF, and some pieces of equipment are considerably larger.
To be clear, this is speculation on my part — but I strongly suspect that Fab 42 will be completed with an eye towards fitting it out for easier EUV adoption in the future. Intel has not forecast that it expects the PC market to improve in the near future, but the company could be betting that increased datacenter demand and cloud service scaling will drive future product adoption, even if the consumer market declines further.
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