Fab 28 will be the firm's second 45nm plant, the seventh to use 300mm wafers, INQUIRER reader and general manager and senior veep of Intel's technological manufacturing group, Bob Baker, told a gathering of dignitaries and press in a hot tent erected next to the dusty building site.
Chief amongst the dignitaries was acting Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert, who boasted that Intel's investment of $3.5 billion in the Fab, along with the associated $1.5 billion worth of improvements announced for next-door fab 18 represented the single largest investment ever announced in the country.
"If you wonder how the world economy perceives Israel then look to Intel," said Olmert. "The five billion shows that Hamas doesn't frighten them, that terror doesn't frighten them, that they trust in the government of Israel and the Jewish people," he said.
Olmert reckoned that the fact that many years would pass before the chipmaker would see a return on its investment demonstrated a confidence in the State of Israel that would encourage others. The fab is not expected to go online until the summer of 2008.
Intel has had a presence in Israel since 1974 and employs some 6000 people in its manufacturing and R&D centres in the territory. The new Fab will create around 2000 new jobs, Bob Baker boasted.
Baker told the INQUIRER that the Fab would produce Intel's leading edge chips based on 45nm technology but would not be drawn on the architecture or nomenclature of upcoming chip lines. He refused to be drawn on further plans for 45nm fabs or whether chips built in the new fab would make their way into handheld or convergent devices. In fact he smiled a lot and hopped around all the questions we levelled at him.
In a videotaped address, fisherman and Intel chairman of the board Craig Barrett said Intel would now employ more people in Israel than in Silicon Valley, California. µ
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