In a product change notification (PCN) on Saturday, Intel announced it has added a fourth site to perform the ‘test and finish’ portion of the manufacturing process. It is located in Costa Rica and aimed at Cascade Lake Xeon Scalable processors. Intel had previously closed its Costa Rica facility six years ago.
Intel said it has certified this fourth site “to ensure a continuous supply” of the targeted processors. The four sites are Penang, Kulim, Vietnam and Costa Rica. Intel is planning a “phased” implementation of the Costa Rica operations and has planned to start those on April 19, with the “remaining” operations to come online on August 3. After those dates, customers can receive processors from those locations.
According to HardwareLuxx, Intel had shut down its Costa Rica assembly and test facility six years ago, costing 1,500 jobs, so it appears that Intel has restarted work in that country again. Intel’s 2019 annual report confirms it had only three such facilities previously: “We have nine manufacturing sites –six are wafer fabrication and three are assembly/test facilities.”
As Intel says it is doing this to ensure a continuous supply of Xeon processors, it is likely Intel decided this to reduce its dependency on the existing three facilities, as supply is increasing: Intel has previously said it has added 25% wafer capacity of 14nm in 2019, and plans to add another 25% capacity in 2020.
The affected processors are Cascade Lake second-generation Xeon Scalable processors in the Silver, Gold and Platinum lines and include both boxed and tray SKUs.