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AMD Pushing Out 450 mm Wafer Technology »

Ongoing Argument

Intel, one the few chip manufacturers that can afford to build $10 billion plants, is attempting to push the industry towards 450 mm fabs in the 2012-2014 time frame. The discussion whether to move to 450 mm or not has been an ongoing argument. Pressing question is who will fund the development of NGF tools.

Two years ago, VLSI Research urged the IC industry to push out the appearance of 450 mm wafer fabs to between 2020 and 2025. The firm estimated that it could cost the IC equipment industry over $100 billion to develop the 450 mm tools.

IC Insights, on the other hand, believes that it is only a matter of when, not if, it takes place. IC equipment and materials suppliers may be reluctant participants in 450 mm wafer production, president Bill McClean stated, but it will happen!

An industry rule of thumb says that when the latest wafer size accounts for half of all the industry's wafer output, it is time to start manufacturing on the next size of wafer. By this measure 450 mm should start in 2014.

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