The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
The dies that responded with the right answer to the test pattern will be put forward for the next step (packaging). Bad dies are discarded. Several years ago, Intel made key chains out of bad CPU dies.
This is an individual die, which has been cut out in the previous step (slicing). The die shown here is a die of an Intel Core i7 processor.
The substrate, the die, and the heatspreader are put together to form a completed processor. The green substrate builds the electrical and mechanical interface for the processor to interact with the rest of the PC system. The silver heatspreader is a thermal interface where a cooling solution will be applied. This will keep the processor cool during operation.
A Finished CPU
A microprocessor is the most complex manufactured product on earth. In fact, it takes hundreds of steps and only the most important ones have been visualized in this picture story.
During this final test the processors will be tested for their key characteristics (among the tested characteristics are power dissipation and maximum frequency).
Based on the test result of class testing processors with the same capabilities are put into the same transporting trays. This process is called "binning," a process with which many Tom's Hardware readers will be familiar. Binning determines the maximum operating frequency of a processor, and batches are divided and sold according to stable specifications.
Off To The Stores
The manufactured and tested processors (again Intel Core i7 processor is shown here) either go to system manufacturers in trays or into retail stores in a box.
Many thanks to Intel for supplying the text and photos in this picture story. Check out Intel's site for full size images of this entire process.