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PIII gets smaller

Development chips produced on 0.13 micron process

Chip gurus Intel have proudly announced another technology milestone - the first yields of silicon using an advanced 300 mm 0.13 micron fabrication process. The factory where the breakthrough occurred, D1C ('D' for development) is the first to produce chips built using the 0.13 micron process on larger 300 mm wafers. Once perfected, this facility will be far more cost-effective than Intel's other plants, which use a 200 mm wafer, and Intel hopes to pass these savings onto the consumer. In the ongoing price war with AMD, such cuts will be welcomed. In actual fact, "Intel expects chips produced on 300 mm wafers to cost 30 percent less than those made using the smaller wafers," according to Tom Garrett, Intel's 300 mm Program manager. The demand for new Intel chips currently exceeds supply, and by producing them on a larger wafer with similar percentage yields, a higher volume of chips will be available to the customer. "By shrinking the circuit lines to 0.13 microns and increasing the wafer size to 300 mm, we are able to quadruple the output of a standard factory operating today." It bears noting that the 300 mm project is entirely separate to the 0.13 micron project, but the two are enjoying a short spell of crossover as Intel strives to impress IT hacks. As it goes though, D1C is still a development facility. Once it's finished, it will become F1C ('F' for fab) and start producing chips along the lines detailed above. However, according to prying eyes at The Inquirer, Intel won't actually be offering these chips to the general public until early next year. In the mean time, it's new "Tualatin" Pentium III chips (capable perhaps of approaching AMD Athlon speeds) will be fabricated on a 0.13 micron 200 mm wafer process, which while more expensive is still a good bet for Intel, especially since it needs the chips out of the door soon.

Source - press release