Intel announces 22nm fab investment

Intel is talking about building its latest-and-greatest fab today, that it will churn out 22nm 12-inch wafers to power the devices of the future, as it were.

The new fab, tentatively named 'D1X', will be located in Hillsboro, Oregon, and will be one of five planned fabs to manufacture 22nm wafers used in Intel's upcoming Ivy Bridge CPU (22nm Tick) and should be up and running by 2013, it seems. The fab also includes an R&D facility, like most Oregonian Intel sites.

Intel will pony up $6-to-$8 billion in order to get the fab built and expects around 6,000 jobs to be created for construction purposes while 1,000 high-tech permanent jobs will be generated after the fab is ready. Oregon must love Intel for this. That's almost 16,000 Intel employees working in Oregon and a huge slice of the state's GDP.

It doesn't seem, however, that this will be the first fab to churn out 22nm wafers. Other factories in Oregon and Arizona are being upgraded for 22nm manufacturing and will begin production in late 2011, according to Intel.

22nm will be an important node for the company as it'll serve to catapult several architectures simultaneously into the market. Ivy Bridge (22nm tick), Haswell (22nm tock), Saltwell (22nm Atom CPU) and Knight's Corner (22nm Larabee) are planned to become available when Intel reaches that particular node (SRAM also, but that's less of a crowd-pleaser).

This happens at every node, that's true, but with this one in particular Intel is hoping it will have reached the lowest performance-per-watt threshold to date. Devices built on the 22nm node will feature a third-generation HKMG process with exponentially lower leakage, smaller footprint and even lower power consumption.

Before Intel says it, we'll say it: Moore's Law seems to be alive and well.