Tuesday January 22, 2019

Intel to Spend Billions on New Chip Factory Expansion in Oregon

Intel is preparing to start construction on an expansion to its Oregon research factory known as D1X in June. D1X is Intel's most advanced research facility where technology developed there is duplicated at other Intel facilities worldwide. The expansion is likely due to Intel adopting extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) which requires $120 million machinery that is as big as a bus. Intel is moving ahead with the development of its 7 nm technology which requires EUV to enable the design of smaller features on chips. The existing D1X research facility takes up an area that encompasses 2.2 million square feet of space and is equivalent to 15 Costco warehouse stores. The expansion is expected to increase Intel's footprint at D1X by 1.1 million square feet. Intel could announce the expansion as early as Thursday when it releases its 2018 financial results.

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Intel's D1X factory: Intel's main research factory, or fab, in chip industry parlance. D1X is where the company develops each new generation of microprocessor and begins manufacturing it. The company duplicates the production process invented in Oregon at factories in Arizona, Ireland and Israel. Dan Hutcheson, a longtime chip industry watcher and chief executive of VLSI Research, said Intel's Oregon plans don't surprise him. In semiconductors, he said, technical advancement requires significant investment. "They keep breaking these barriers," Hutcheson said. "Part of that is just making the billion-dollar bets on the future."