Intel goes to 0.13 micron -- and is predicting 3-4GHz chips in a year or two.

From: Adam Rifkin (Adam@KnowNow.Com)
Date: Mon Apr 09 2001 - 10:09:30 PDT


Intel produces silicon using 0.13-micron technology
By Sam Costello

INTEL IS HOPING to score bigger profits and hit higher chip speeds early
next year by making its silicon at once both bigger and smaller. That was
the message Monday when the company announced that it had successfully
manufactured a 300-millimeter, 0.13-micron wafer.

Chips are manufactured on wafers, large disks of silicon, that have hundreds
of chips printed on them. The larger the wafer, the more chips can be made
from it. Currently, Intel uses a 200-millimeter wafer. Microns are the width
of the circuit lines printed onto the chips; the smaller width the better
the performance.

Deriving more chips from a wafer will result, long-term, in lower chip
prices and greater availability, said Howard High, a spokesman for Intel, in
Santa Clara, Calif. Monday's announcement represents a milestone, because
Intel has been able to produce a wafer from the new manufacturing process,
he said. Such an accomplishment indicates that Intel is still committed to
the 300-millimeter process, High said.

The techniques used to make the wafer announced Monday are slated to be
introduced into Intel's product line in early 2002, he said.

Along with the benefits of the larger wafer, the smaller micron size will
translate to more chips per wafer, as well as faster, cheaper, and more
reliable chips, High said.

To illustrate the projected evolution of the chips, High said that the
Pentium III, a 0.25-micron chip, ran at about 600Mhz. The Pentium 4, a
0.18-micron chip using the process employed today, runs at up to 1.5GHz
currently and will hit 2GHz by the end of the year. The 0.13-micron chips,
however, will use copper rather than aluminum wiring and are likely to run
as fast as 3GHz to 4GHz in the next year or two, High said.


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