Move to 12-inch wafers likely slow

Dataquest warns transition could take quite some while

Market research company Dataquest has warned that the move to 12-inch (300mm) silicon wafers is likely to be slower than most anticipate. A report it has just published says that the move to the new fab process is not likely to mean much in the market until the year 2003. Two weeks ago, Intel confirmed that it had plans to shift technology to 12-inch wafers, while Taiwanese foundries and Siemens also announced their moves to the technology. The report, called The 300mm Wafer Size Transition: Really...When?, calls into question the speed of transition, and suggests further delays are inevitable. Part of the problem is that a 12-inch wafer is far more fragile than the eight-inch variety, and chip companies need to implement new equipment to transition from one technology to another. Such transition can be very expensive. Intel, for example, is moving very slowly to experimenting with 12-inch silicon wafers. ®

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