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A First Look at Intel's 14nm Fab 42 Manufacturing Facility

Construction of Fab 42, the company's first volume 14 nm factory, has begun in Chandler, Arizona and has been documented in an article in the Financial Times and a slideshow published by analysts at VLSI Research. The massive new fab will be Intel's first factory to exceed a construction cost of $5 billion and somewhat follows the concept of the praised D1X development Fab in Hillsboro, Oregon. Fab 42 will also use the "copy exactly" approach, in which the company aims to recreate the conditions of the D1X development fab in a volume production facility in extreme detail, including interior temperature and air quality, to achieve the production yields delivered by D1X.

What makes Fab 42 special is that it is a modular fab like D1X (which is separated in a manufacturing, development and research portions).However, Fab 42 is more advanced and substantially larger than D1X. The new plant is also the first volume production facility that is compatible with 450 mm wafers, which offer a substantial economic advantage over the current 300 mm generation that Intel launched with its 130 nm processor generation in 2001.

Fab 42 is due to go online sometime next year.