Intel to spend up to $8B on US manufacturing

Oct 19, 2010 By JORDAN ROBERTSON , AP Technology Writer
In this file photo taken July 12, 2010, the exterior of Intel Corp. headquarters is shown, in Santa Clara, Calif. Intel said Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010, it will spend $6 billion to $8 billion on new chip manufacturing technology in its U.S. factories and will build a new development plant in Oregon.(AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, file)

(AP) -- Intel Corp. on Tuesday revealed the scope of its latest infusion to keep its factories cutting-edge and push the chip industry's pace: an investment of up to $8 billion to build a new factory in Oregon and upgrade four existing plants in Arizona and Oregon.

In all, the projects will create up to 8,000 temporary construction jobs and up to 1,000 permanent positions in Oregon when that factory opens in 2013.

Intel's problem with factories is akin to your car needing a new engine every couple of years to avoid becoming a dinosaur. Intel's factories are the Ferraris of the semiconductor world. They need constant, massive investments to keep up with the breakneck pace of technological progress that Intel itself set and has pushed for more than 40 years.

"Today's announcement reflects the next tranche of the continued advancement of Moore's Law and a further commitment to invest in the future of Intel and America," Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini said.

Moore's Law is Intel co-founder Gordon Moore's famous prediction in 1965 that computer chips' performance will roughly double every two years as manufacturing technology improves and more transistors, or tiny on/off switches, can be crammed on to the chips. The other side of that prediction is that prices will also fall.

Tuesday's announcement underscores Intel's role as the world's biggest manufacturer of microprocessors, which are the "brains" of computers. It also shows the importance of the company's size and ability to spend heavily in maintaining its lead in the semiconductor world.

Few companies can stomach the cost of competing against Intel. Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Intel's main rival in computer microprocessors, spun off its factories into a separate company, called GlobalFoundries Inc., in 2009 to unload debt and free itself from the heavy upkeep costs. AMD's revenue is seven times less than Intel's.

Intel's new investment will support its transition to 22-nanometer manufacturing technology. Intel's last major investment was a $7 billion outlay announced in February 2009.

The two plants in Chandler, Ariz., and two in Hillsboro, Ore., that are getting the upgrade make Intel's most advanced chips. Intel has plants around the world, including Ireland and Israel, but three-quarters of its chip manufacturing is done in the U.S. That's partly a function of strict U.S. export rules on the most sophisticated chip-making equipment. Those rules effectively limit the kinds of chips that Intel can make in certain countries, such as China.

The heavy costs are the result of the price of new chip-making equipment. Lithography and other types of machines can cost more than $1 million each and come from companies such as Nikon Corp., Canon Inc. and Applied Materials Inc.

Intel owns about 80 percent of the worldwide market for PC and server microprocessors. AMD is second with about 20 percent. Intel is expanding aggressively into new markets for its chips such as cell phones and televisions and cable set-top boxes and tablets.

Intel shares increased 14 cents to $19.33 in midday trading Tuesday.

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Quantum_Conundrum
5 / 5 (1) Oct 19, 2010
Say hello to 12 core, 3.5ghz with integrated video on the same chip for their next line of Intel processor.
Parsec
5 / 5 (5) Oct 19, 2010
Someday people MIGHT actually know how to efficiently program multi-core devices. Software is definitely behind the hardware on this one.
Quantum_Conundrum
5 / 5 (1) Oct 19, 2010
Someday people MIGHT actually know how to efficiently program multi-core devices. Software is definitely behind the hardware on this one.


Yup. Problem is that even with object oriented programing, most software is ultimately procedural and each step depends on the previous step, and most steps cannot be run in parallel, because they are immediately dependent on the outcome of other steps.

Even in multi-threaded applicatons, there is usually one central thread that is still highly procedural, and the other threads are often irrelevant to the core thread.

For example, the chat feature in a video game is usually irrelevant to the game engine itself.

The problem is more or less in our ways of thinking about logic and causality, and how we handle inputs and parameters.

We need a more generalized and dynamic class architecture in the programming languages to allow non-linear computing.

I have no idea on earth how to do that though, lol.
CreepyD
not rated yet Oct 20, 2010
I think a better use of multicore CPU's is simply to run a different program on each core. How often do you need 4 or more different programs running that totally kill the CPU though? Servers only I would have thought.
El_Nose
not rated yet Oct 20, 2010
@ Creepy and Quantum

The solution to both stated issues is that the Operating system needs to be better set up to handle multicore than the programs them selves. The only progs that benefit the most on multicore systems that people use are going to be video games and maybe spreadsheet programs with many calculations. The operating system is the most effecient place to seperate into multiple processes - if you run *nix doing the top command will show you everything that can be sent to different cores - or taskmgr on windows will show you things that can be split across the cores.

I believe *nix systems already apptemt to do this very well. I have no idea about windows but I suspect it is not far behind if at all.

The fact of the matter is Quantum has broken down the problem perfectly... but the tool sets are just not in place yet... I know for instance that you can not query a video card and ask it how many cores it has... having functions like that on the OS would be great
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (1) Oct 22, 2010
"The operating system is the most effecient place to seperate into multiple processes " - creepy

I have a program that iterates through a list to find a string match on a particular field.

This can be accomplished with a single iterative thread, or it can be broken up in several different ways using multiple threads operating over the same list.

How does the OS even know that the application is performing such a task, and even if it does know, how do you propose that the OS magically convert a single thread implementation with a multi-threaded one?

Only the application knows these things, and hence only the application can manage them. you use a language that is specifically designed from the ground up for multithreaded programming.

Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (1) Oct 22, 2010
Such a language would require the replacement of for, next loops with for each loops, with qualifiers for skipping entries, or partitioning lists.

Implementing fine grained parallelism is orders of magnitude more complex than programming a single thread.

With regard to Intel: Their decision is based on export restrictions that prohibit the exportation of technology that can render circuit pathways smaller than 65nm.

In addition they are banking on the collapse of the U.S. dollar. Thereby making their U.S. product more competitive on the world market.
plasma_guy
not rated yet Oct 24, 2010
It looks like most of the 8 billion has to be for 22 nm upgrade, leaving very little for the new R/D lab.