Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2001/04/03/intel_cpus_roll_off_300mm/

Intel CPUs roll off 300mm, 0.13 micron line

You'll see the results next year sometime

By Tony Smith

Posted in Business, 3rd April 2001 09:09 GMT

Intel's Hillsboro, Oregon plant has begun punching out functional processors based on 0.13 micron technology and on 300mm wafers. It has to be both, since other companies have reached either 0.13 micron or started working with 300mm wafers already.

"Intel expects chips produced on 300mm wafers to cost 30 per cent less than those made using the smaller wafers," said Tom Garrett, Intel's 300 mm programme manager. "By shrinking the circuit lines to 0.13 microns and increasing the wafer size to 300mm, we are able to quadruple the output of a standard factory operating today."

Note the "expects" - that level of productivity is a long way off. Even Intel admits that, which is why the 300mm, 0.13 micron facility is a 'D' installation - 'D' for development. It will be some time before it's rated 'F', for fab.

We don't expect 0.13 micron CPUs on 300mm to roll off the line in production quantities until Q1 2002. Intel's first release 0.13 micron CPU, the Pentium III family member codenamed Tualatin, ships early next quarter and is currently being run out on 200mm wafers. Indeed, the chip giant has already been ramping up Tualatin production since Q1, according to Intel 'Inquirers'.

Anyway, for all you fab wonks out there, here's what Intel says about its 0.13 micron process: "This technology allows the company to manufacture chips with circuitry that is so small it would take almost 1000 of these 'wires' placed side-by-side to equal the width of a human hair. This advanced process technology will enable high performance microprocessors that can contain more than 100 million transistors and run at multi-gigahertz clock speeds. Intel's 0.13 micron process technology features the world's fastest transistor used in volume production. Intel transistors are the foundation of the industry's fastest microprocessors.

"Intel uses the smallest transistor gate in production and the thinnest of thin films to make these ultra speedy transistors. Intel's transistor gate measures just 70nm (0.07 microns in length). Intel's advanced 0.13 micron process technology also features a 1.5nm gate oxide that is the thinnest in the industry for a manufacturing technology and provides industry-leading transistor performance at lower operating voltage. In addition to the ultra-small transistor gate and thin oxides, Intel's 0.13 micron logic technology has high performance interconnect technology featuring six-layers of copper metalisation." ®