Intel, Samsung and TSMC to switch to 450mm wafers in 2012

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Intel, Samsung and TSMC announced this week that the companies have agreed a timeline for when the move to 450mm wafer technology starts. The larger wafers should provide cheaper chips.

The three companies, which are among the world’s largest chip manufacturers, have chosen to start converting production from 300mm wafers to 450mm wafers in 2012. This indirectly also means that other chip manufacturers will also have to switch around this period if they want to continue to use the latest technologies. Indeed, it is expected that the chip baking equipment manufacturers will not continue to invest in developing new 300mm equipment, thus Ars Technica.

The move from 300mm to 450mm potentially has some major benefits. By more than doubling the surface area of ​​the wafers, more than twice as many chips can be cut from a single wafer, resulting in lower production costs. In addition, the larger wafers are better for the environment, because on average less energy, water and other raw materials are required for the production of a chip.

The move from 300mm wafers to 450mm wafers in 2012 is no surprise historically. On average, the wafers are made larger every ten years. 200mm wafers were started in 1991, the first 300mm wafers saw the light of day in 2001. This marks the move to 450mm eleven years after the previous transition.

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