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Intel announces fourth 45nm fab

Chip plant to go into production H2 2008

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Intel is to spend $1-1.5bn upgrading its Rio Rancho, New Mexico plant, Fab 11X, to produce 45nm processors, the chip giant said yesterday. Output will commence in H2 2008.

Intel's 45nm transistion centres on plants D1D and Fab 32 located in, respectively, Oregon and Arizona. These are the fabs that will punch out Penryn, the company's 45nm microarchitecture later this year, with the first desktop chips coming to market early 2008.

During H1 2008, Fab 28, in Israel, will begin producing 45nm products. And now we know Fab 11X will follow it in the second half of the year.

The 45nm Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Extreme, Core 2 Quad and Xeon processors Intel will build out of Penryn will match today's chips' power envelopes - 35W for laptop chips, 65W for mainstream desktop parts, and 80W for quad-core server and the gaming-oriented CPUs - Intel said, with the benefits of the shift in scale from 65nm to 45nm delivering higher performance.

In addition to microarchitectural improvements - including the addition of new SSE instructions - the higher performance will come through higher clock speeds and larger caches. Unfortunately, Intel wouldn't provide details - they will come later in the year, when it gets closer to announcing specific products.

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