TECH: Intel formalizes a 20 billion dollar factory and would like to make it the largest in the world

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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