It is in the American state of Ohio that Intel will set up its future state-of-the-art semiconductor production plant. A first installment that will cost a trifle of 20 billion dollars…
It’s official: after rumors mentioning New York and Ohio, it was finally this last American state that was chosen by Intel for the implementation of the first two slices of its future gigafab of semiconductors. A huge project and a huge check: 20 billion dollars or 17.5 billion euros.
When we talk about “first installment”, it is because if the first step consists in installing at least two fabs (the factories which produce the famous wafers on which overpriced machines “burn” the processors) in addition to a unit of packaging (assembly of chips), Intel posed an option of enlargement. A great option: Intel could double the surface used and implement 4 to 6 additional fabs.
With between 6 and 8 fabs, the site would become a “gigafab”. Popularized by the Taiwanese TSMC, world champion in chip production, a gigafab is a site producing more than 100,000 wafers (silicon wafers) per month, each of these wafers comprising several hundred chips. Volumes that seem crazy, but which stick to the equally crazy needs of industries. For Apple iPhones alone, TSMC produces more than 200 million chips a year…
“We hope (that this site, editor’s note) will become the most important place of production of semiconductors on the planet”, even promised the CEO of Intel, Par Gelsinger, less than a year after taking the reins of the company. ‘business. The chosen site in Ohio is in New Albany and although construction will begin this year, it is only from 2025 that the first chips will come out of the production lines.
It was to respond to the double problem of a shortage of semiconductors and the loss of US sovereignty in their production that Pat Gelsinger launched his chip production strategy called “IDM2.0” last year. A plan which aims to open the factories of Intel – which until now produced only for itself – in order to position itself as a competitor to TSMC. Competitor or alternative: while Intel itself uses the services of TMSC for the burning of certain bricks (GPUs, certain Cores, etc.), the American wants above all to offer its customers, in particular Americans, a sovereign sector and/ or alternative in case of problem. Especially in the event of a Chinese offensive on the territory of Taiwan, where TSMC’s state-of-the-art factories are located.
This is not the only production site in which Intel is investing: the American giant is extending its production capacities to most of its sites – Israel, New Mexico (USA), Arizona (USA) – and preparing the construction of a fab in Germany, and r&d centers in France and Italy. Tens of billions of dollars, with the stated goal of becoming the “Western champion” of semiconductor production.
If some analysts, while emphasizing the explosion of current and future chip production needs, emit the possibility of a risk of finding themselves in a situation of overcapacity, Intel’s investments have insurance value for Western governments. .
In the event of a loss of stability in Asian production, American and European companies would know where to turn. In an increasingly polarized world, where China and the United States clash more and more frontally, Intel’s approach could facilitate its access to financial aid from the states.
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