Inside Advanced Scale Challenges|Sunday, February 17, 2019
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Report: Intel to Build Massive 7nm Plant 

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Intel is gearing up for a large-scale factory expansion for production of its next-generation 7nm chip, according to published reports, which state that the multi-billion-dollar construction project could begin by early summer.

A story in The Oregonian cites unnamed sources who said the project would add a sizable section to Intel’s advanced Hillsboro, Ore., research factory known as D1X.

The same publication also recently reported on rumors that Intel is close to finishing a seven-month search to replace former CEO Brian Krzanich, with some observers speculating that an announcement could come tomorrow during the chip company’s quarterly earnings announcement. According to the article, “Chairman Andy Bryant told some employees recently that the chipmaker may go with a ‘non-traditional’ candidate, suggesting a CEO from outside the company is a possibility."

Regarding Intel’s reported factory expansion in Hillsboro, the news follows a general announcement last month from the company regarding plans to build new manufacturing facilities in Oregon, Ireland and Israel. "In the weeks and months ahead, we will be working through discussions and permitting with local governments and communities," said SVP and GM of manufacturing and operations, Dr. Ann B. Kelleher. "It is important to note that site expansion and the related investment will be taken in stages and are always subject to change based on business, economic and other factors." 

The Oregonian story reported that "People in Oregon's construction industry say the company is lining up contractors and labor for the massive project, and some say Intel has told them it is committed to going forward. Others say Intel has hedged a bit in its conversations, indicating its plans depend at least to some degree on the global economic outlook."

Construction of the new plant is expected to last about a year and a half, with more months of equipment installation to follow, “making for an earliest probably opening date of mid-2021,” The Oregonian reported. Rival chip maker AMD by then will have been producing Ryzen and Epyc microprocessors on 7nm technology for two years.

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