Little as in 22nm process, that is. The chip-making giant plans another die shrink as it tells us about 4 labs to move to the smallest process ever, and a new plant in Oregon is planned for a startup in a couple of years.

[TechConnect]

Intel is really putting money where its mouth is as it plans to invest between $6 billion and $8 billion to update multiple microprocessor factories in Arizona and Oregon with equipment for 22nm manufacturing, and built a new fab in Oregon.

Intel’s spending plan will see Fab 12 and Fab 32 in Arizona and the D1C and D1D facilities in Oregon made ready for 22nm production, and enable the construction of the D1X plant which is scheduled for R&D startup in 2013. All in all, Intel expects the projects to support 6,000 to 8,000 construction jobs and result in 800 to 1,000 new permanent high-tech jobs.

"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," said Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini. "The most immediate impact of our multi-billion-dollar investment will be the thousands of jobs associated with building a new fab and upgrading four others, and the high-wage, high-tech manufacturing jobs that follow."

Intel’s first 22nm processors, codename Ivy Bridge, are set to enter production in late 2011.

 

With the process getting so very small, I have to wonder when the end of the line will come, and further die shrinks will become difficult to impossible, making the laboratories search for other means to improve performance.

In the mean time, it will be interesting to se how much will be gained from the shrink to 22nm from 28nm. And what of AMD, still stuck in the higher die sizes, and not moving with the same deliberate speed of Intel. Will AMD make a jump to a smaller die skipping on of the steps that Intel has shown? Will anyone else show a really small die size? IBM perhaps? Is everyone else doomed to always follow Intel – at least with the size of the dies?

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Obviously this joke is not a good one now, as Intel once again moves the hand of the clock and we hear tick-tock, with a new level of technology at a new smaller size.

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