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Intel opens second 45nm chip plant

Claims it's greener then the rest

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Intel has opened the second of its chip factories capable of punching out 45nm processors, the chip giant announced last night. Clearly feeling the pressure of raised environmental awareness, it was keen to stress the plant's green credentials rather than its chip-making potential.

Fab 32, located in Chandler, Arizona joins Intel's Oregon-based D1D development fab as a source of 45nm CPUs. These are due to be "introduced" on 12 November, though Intel didn't say yesterday whether the 'Penryn'-based products would be rolling off of F32's productio lines at that point.

Indeed, it said nothing about Fab 32's production capacity or ramp other than the fact that it's doing so "quickly", moving Intel's overall 45nm production into a "high volume" phase.

Instead, Intel focused on the 1m square foot plant's relative eco friendliness. The fab, with its 184,000 square feet of clean room space - the area where the chips are actually made - taps into Intel Arizona's broader water use system, for example, which puts back 70 per cent of the water it uses.

Intel also mentioned that its 45nm process "results in a 15 per cent reduction in global warming [gas] emissions".

The company said it plans to seek certification for the plant under the US Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (Leed) programme, a "consensus-based national rating system" that scores factories, shops, schools and other buildings for their "performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.

"Projects are awarded Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum certification depending on the number of credits they achieve."

Intel admitted Leed certification will take several months of monitoring before a certficate can be awarded. If Fab 32 gets one, it'll be Intel's first.

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