Intel is building a new fab facility in Hillsboro, Oregon to handle 450mm wafers. According to the EETimes, the chipmaker is also going to upgrade current U.S. facilities for 22-nm production at a total investment of between $6 billion and $8 billion.
The new fab in Oregon will be known as D1X and will begin its R&D in 2013.
"Intel is very interested in 450mm… D1X is being (constructed) to be compatible with 450mm," said Intel's director of process architecture and integration, Mark Bohr, adding that equipment vendors are now interested in making 450mm tools.
Larger wafers mean that there will be a greater number of chips produced per cycle, which generally means a reduced cost on the producer that translates to lower prices for the consumer. (The same sort of principle occurs during a process shrink, where more chips can fit on a single wafer.)