Intel has announced the grand opening of its new semiconductor manufacturing expansion at its D1X facility in Oregon. Costing $3 billion, the new Mod3 expansion offers “an additional 270,000 square feet of cleanroom space to develop next-generation silicon process technologies.” This will be useful for Intel’s aggressive process node growth plans.
Intel plans to rapidly introduce new process nodes over the next few years, from the Intel 7 today to the Intel 18A by mid-decade, and plans to invest heavily in its Intel-owned and operated manufacturing facilities to deliver on each.
The company’s expansion into Oregon is a big part of that; Intel says it contributes $19 billion to Oregon’s GDP in 2019 alone. It’s where Intel does most of its research into new process nodes, which it terminates and replicates at its other facilities around the world.
“Since its founding, Intel has been dedicated to relentlessly advancing Moore’s Law,” says Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel. “This new factory space will reinforce our ability to provide the accelerated process roadmap needed to support our bold IDM 2.0 strategy. Oregon is the long-standing heart of our global semiconductor R&D, and I can think of no better way to honor the legacy of Gordon Moore than for bestowing his name on this campus, which, like him, has played such a huge role in advancing our industry.”
Therefore, Intel is renaming the campus Gordon Moore Park, in honor of the company’s founder and namesake of Moore’s Law — the one that claims that transistor density doubles every two years or so.
This Oregon expansion has been ongoing since 2019. In fact, this was before current CEO Pat Gelsinger took the helm and we as customers really felt the chip shortage crisis. It was, however, in the midst of a time when Intel itself was having a bit of trouble meeting the demand of its customers.
But the first tool, a film deposition tool, rolled to Mod3 expansion (opens in new tab) at D1X in August of last year, and is now open for business.
Gelsinger was seen as in favor of large investments in manufacturing, however, partially as part of Intel’s new IDM 2.0 plan, which will open its foundry doors for others to use. Other developments the company has announced since Gelsinger took over include Intel’s new German factory (opens in new tab).
Intel’s factory in Magdeburg will cost a tremendous €17 billion to build, but it will take a while once it is up and running, which should be around 2027. Before that, it needs to continue working at its existing facility and the next generation process, or risk falling behind chip-making rivals TSMC and Samsung. Expansions like the most recent ones in Oregon can be hugely important to keep up with the competition.