With fab expansions on tap across the entire semiconductor industry, Intel today is laying out their own plans for significantly increasing their production capacity by announcing their intention to build a new $20 billion fab complex in Ohio. With the paperwork already inked and construction set to begin in late 2022, Intel will be building two new leading-edge fabs in their new Ohio location to support future chip needs. And should further demand call for it, the Ohio complex has space to house several more fabs.

Intel’s announcement follows ongoing concerns about chip fab capacity and national security, as like other chip fabs, Intel is looking to expand their capacity in future years amidst the current chip crunch. All the while, the United States government has become increasingly mindful about how much chip production takes place in geopolitically tricky Taiwan, placing additional pressure on firms to build additional fabs within the US. To that end, Intel has been not-so-secretly undertaking a search to find a good location for a new fab campus, and they have finally found their answer in Ohio.

The new site, Intel’s first new manufacturing site location in 40 years, is located in New Albany, Ohio, just outside of Columbus. Up until now, all of Intel’s major chip fab sites have been in the western United States – Oregon, Arizona, and at one point, Silicon Valley – so the Ohio site is a significant move for the company. All told, the Ohio “mega-site”, as Intel likes to call it, covers nearly 1000 acres. And while Intel is only initially planning for two fabs, the site offers plenty of room to grow, offering enough space for a total of 8 fabs.

The immediate goal of the company – and the crux of today’s announcement – revolves around the building of two new leading-edge fabs at the Ohio location. According to Intel, these two fabs will begin construction late this year, with production coming online in 2025. The company isn’t formally stating what the initial process node will be – instead saying that it will be using the "industry's most advanced transistor technologies" – however if the company is indeed building truly bleeding-edge fabs, then 2025 lines up with Intel’s 18A process, which will be 4 generations newer than what Intel is using now (Intel 7).

Altogether, Intel expects the project to cost about $20 billion, which is similar to what Intel will be spending for its two new Arizona fabs, which were announced just under a year ago. And further down the line, should Intel opt to fill the rest of the property with the other 6 fabs that the site can support, the company expects that the total price tag could reach nearly $100 billion. Ultimately, the company is making it clear that they are priming the site not just to met their mid-term production needs with the initial two fabs, but are making sure to have the space ready for further capacity expansion over the long-term.

As to whether Intel eventually builds those further 6 fabs, that will depend on a few factors. Key among these will be demand from Intel Foundry Services clients; while Intel will be using some of the Ohio site’s capacity for their own needs, the site will also be used to fab chips for IFS customers. If Intel’s bid to break into the contract fab business is successful, and the company is able to woo over additional clients/orders, then they will need to build additional fabs to meet that demand.

Also hanging in the balance is what the US Government opts for, both in terms of orders and incentives. The Ohio fabs will be used for domestic production of sensitive chips, as the US looks to secure its supply lines. Meanwhile the CHIPS for America Act and its 53 billion in incentives will also be a. Intel for its part isn’t playing coy about its interest in the CHIPS money, explicitly stating that “The scope and pace of Intel’s expansion in Ohio, however, will depend heavily on funding from the CHIPS Act”. In some respects Intel is taking a bit of a gamble by investing in the Ohio location before any CHIPS funding is approved – on a pure cost basis, overseas production is traditionally cheaper – so there is certainly a political element in announcing these fabs and selecting an Ohio location. And as an added incentive to the US Government, Pat Gelsinger has told Time that Intel would even be interested in bringing some chip packaging, assembly, and testing back to the US if the CHIPS Act were funded, which in turn would allow Intel to do every last step of production within the US.

But more immediately, Intel’s focus is on getting its first two Ohio fabs up and running. Along with building the facilities they’ll need a workforce to operate them, and as a result the company is also pledging $100M over a decade in funding for local educational efforts. As with similar local industry efforts, that investment would be focused on helping local colleges and universities establish semiconductor manufacturing curricula to help train the technical workforce required.

And while outside of Intel’s own investment scope, the creation of their Ohio fab complex means that Intel’s suppliers are also coming along for the ride. According to the company, Air Products, Applied Materials, LAM Research and Ultra Clean Technology have all indicated that they’ll be setting up facilities in the area. All of which the company is using to further underscore the size of the project and the value it brings to the area – and why they deserve that CHIPS Act funding.

Ultimately, the addition of a third US fab site and two more fabs to Intel’s portfolio is the latest step Intel has taken under Pat Gelsinger’s IDM 2.0 strategy. Gelsinger opted to go all-in on having Intel fab chips for themselves and others, and this is the kind of expansion that Gelsinger has been alluding to as necessary to make IDM 2.0 a reality. Taken altogether, Intel now has 4 leading-edge fabs set to come online in the 2024-2025 timeframe, and with any luck on Intel’s part, there will be room for several more to come.

Source: Intel

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  • Mike Bruzzone - Thursday, January 27, 2022 - link

    mode_13th, lithography process and lithography process 'advantage' is stacking from the back like a freight train that just ran into a physical wall; everyone catches up when lithography reaches saturation at infinity dependent then on what is the next transistor and what is the next bit cell.

    Specific to the jump gate of advanced packaging and interconnect and in memory compute and CXL etc., I entirely agree that system in package presents new performance subsystem and overall system performance opportunities.

    Zen 5? AMD is currently scrambling to get Zen 4 to fit into the Intel + Microsoft (tied) sandbox on a reconfigured x86 'platform standard' that is Win 11 thread directed application optimizations. Certainly, and currently V5x on Win 10 is 'the more x86 standard platform' than Alder on Windows 11?

    Q "Did it occur to you that as AMD grows, it has more resources to invest in design & other new tech?"

    A; Think about what happens, what product(s) functionality you get, when you drop an FPGA (combine) on top of a GPU array; matrix and spatial. Among the most basic is area microcontrollers for tensor like linear algebra and/or like what RT does today with MCUs managing their areas of a bit map or what Volta tensor cores can do to optimize server data processing operations I'd need to read up on the various application uses. At the top of the stack when you combine and FPGA with a GPU you get a switch; now think Broadcom.

    Yes, it really is quite expansive, I agree entirely. mb
    Reply
  • ChrisGX - Thursday, January 27, 2022 - link

    Intel had no growth in revenues in a year that the semiconductor sector as a whole grew by 23% globally. That is an awful result whatever way you cut it. Also, fast risers do give a good picture of what is happening in the sector - they take a significant percentage of growing revenues in semiconductors.

    Yes, I did make comparisons, as you say, but I have been very clear in stating that the intent of my comments was to point out how moribund Intel processor design has become. The comparisons were elementary and mostly served an argumentative intent -- if foundries play this magical role in governing the quality of microprocessors how is it that AMD has become dominant in design (and has reaped rewards in terms of growth)? I was attempting to show to Intel fans with an Intel can do no wrong attitude that their outlook was self-contradictory. It hasn't been plain sailing at all over at Intel. They have needed to rid themselves of dead wood and a bunch of new techical hires were needed to start putting Intel on a steady course and ultimately a new management team had to be imported to start extricating the company from the mess created by the earlier thumb twiddlers. Also, I am not setting out rules for the organisation of semiconductor companies, I am calling out a company by the name of Intel that has been underperforming for years due to technical lethargy and a preoccupation with dubious market practices and inattention to user needs and that as a consequence of those failures has opened the way for an onslaught by its chip rivals on markets that are now up for grabs. Is anyone going to seriously dispute this sorry story? So, in my account Intel created the problem and is the problem although it has belatedly acted to start fixing the problem.

    Where do the fabs stand in all of this? They are nothing more than a side issue in the story I set out -- Intel's fabs (and pure play fabs, too) are obviously a big deal but the low ebb of Intel as a chip supplier has much more to do with troubles it has had in designing chips that meet the needs of end users and very little to do with the performance of Intel's fabs per se. Intel lost dominance in chip design because poor management failed to properly support chip design and engineering -- the core of what Intel is. Now, just as Intel's foundries didn't figure in the mess Intel got itself into with weakening demand for the chips it was producing nor will its foundries save Intel as a chip design and engineering business from further troubles if it fails in its objective to build the right kind of chip design teams that can manage to outdo its rivals.

    Indeed, AMD is supply constrained -- it would be doing even better if it weren't, but that tells us almost nothing about when an why a chip supplier might think of getting into the chip fabrication game. AMD has been through these things before and I leave to them how they want to proceed.

    I have one question on these proposed fabs. In view of the heavy public commitments that will underwrite these facilities why is it Intel rather than any number of other semiconductor companies that is getting the attention of State governments and the US Federal government? Is Intel a particularly deserving beneficiary of their support? Or to put the point more forcefully, does putting the semiconductor sector in the USA on a sounder footing necessarily involve dusting off a player with deeply entrenched self-interests like Intel (with the support of public funds) to take the lead in that effort?
    Reply
  • Mike Bruzzone - Thursday, January 27, 2022 - link

    Intel gets no federal funding until Intel Inside price fix theft associated General Services Administration processor in box and processor in computer procurement overcharge theft is returned to the federal government. Thereafter at the public level, State Citizens. See what Ohio is up to, States can offer whatever investment incentives they want and then as the Ohio State AG collects for State Citizens on the consumer market Intel Inside price fix theft the State investment in Intel subsidies becomes a push. mb Reply
  • Silver5urfer - Sunday, January 23, 2022 - link

    Wrong.

    Intel bread and butter was Fabs and x86 ISA. Intel was leading in the technology on all fronts, be it FinFet, 22nm first, 14nm and high K. They ruined themselves, who ? Shareholders.

    Intel sabotaged AMD by that Intel Israel MOAP program which forced Dell, Lenovo, Supermicro, HP server OEMs to stop AMD and killed their own competition and got away, which caused AMD to spin off all their fabs which had IBM technology on top. Then they kept on re-iterating the Core series design from SKL to KBL era with same quad core. Meanwhile the shareholder pigs left Intel to rot and moved their base of love to Apple. Then Apple poured billions into TSMC and Chinese / Taiwanese manufacturing. Which caused TMSC exponential growth.

    Also Intel wasted all money on 5G tech, Mobile Eye, and McAfee etc Mergers because they did not have competition. Ultimately the company stagnated, but due to the x86 world they stayed afloat and profits because greed. With Apple's shareholder influence they got 5G sold to Apple for just $1bn. Horrible. Scum Apple gotaway for cheap while they wanted to nuke Qcomm out by Broadcom.

    Anyways coming back to Intel, they had even SSD NAND also top rank, Intel SLC and MLC was top notch at that time Samsung barely even started with 840 series. Now look where Intel NAND is completely sold off to SKHynix and even the best technology R&D Optane is also Enterprise only.

    Intel also had their CPUs coupled with Nodes, this is why SKL could never be even fabbed on 10nm if they wanted, the only backport they did was RKL and it was a huge disaster which killed LGA1200 prematurely, on purpose however because 10nm TigerLake BGA trash get more sales and margins than a DIY LGA socket. Plus it helps ADL charts.

    Ultimately Intel is Lithography and x86 both do not exist separate. They failed on 10nm by 4 years which caused more money to TSMC and now Intel is going to TSMC for their diversified plan of chiplets and Xe GPUs. Utter shame how this company has fallen.

    This helps Intel AND x86 to lead the world computing. Mobile OSes and ARM garbage are use and throw junk with very little backcompat and re-usability. PLUS this also helps Intel to keep some jobs in US rather than depending entirely on that damn Asian subcontinent be it IT oursourcing, Immigration and R&D of leading Semi industry. Plus Chinese insane rip off. Look how Apple helped them to flood the market with cheap trash clones of Apple devices choking out all the others in the market.
    Reply
  • ChrisGX - Sunday, January 23, 2022 - link

    >>This helps Intel AND x86 to lead the world computing.<<

    In a year in which semiconductor industries experienced 23% growth in revenues for the sector as a whole Intel declined 1%. That is a very poor result.

    https://www.icinsights.com/data/articles/documents...
    https://www.icinsights.com/data/articles/documents...
    Reply
  • Silver5urfer - Sunday, January 23, 2022 - link

    Mobile devices ship in far higher volumes than x86 parts PLUS Intel's node problem let AMD eat Intel's marketshare in Datacenter and DIY on top of that Intel Capex on these IDM made their growth stunted.

    What you want to say is one single argument - Kill the Fabs as they do not do anything. You already know how much volume Intel fabs have vs TSMC. Taiwanese corporation asked a huge chunk of money to allocate for Intel 3nm requirement. And we do not even know if it's x86 processors or the Xe GPU.

    If Intel sheds all fabs who is going to buy them ? Andy Grove mentioned years ago that there will be only one Foundry left due to the nature of the Lithography getting expensive as time passes by, now we have only 3 left. In which there's only one Pure Play TSMC.

    Plus Samsung makes DRAM, ICs, ARM and a TON more on top of their Fab plants in SK. Intel doesn't they even sold off the entire NAND and Optane Fab Utah one as well. Ofc Samsung will have a ton of growth. Very poor comparision of Apples vs Oranges only one pretext that Fabless grew Intel didn't ignoring entire market dynamics, companies that produce mobile junk vs DIY / Datacenter.
    Reply
  • ChrisGX - Monday, January 24, 2022 - link

    >>What you want to say is...<<

    So, I have an agenda according to you. Well, I am not pushing the cart that you assert I am. I mention successful fabless companies because their success flies in the face of the naive outlook of someone like yourself who asserts and asserts Intel's way is best even as that behemoth wallows. There is nothing that fab ownership can do to save an underperforming silicon design and engineering operation from itself. What I contend is that Intel is an underperforming silicon design and engineering operation.

    Intel may benefit greatly from this renewed emphasis on foundry services. But, Intel's rivals in the chip game won't be worried about that because it is Intel's failure to get silicon design and engineering right (after poor management over many years that has had a devastating effect on Intel as a technology company) that has given them the opportunity to score major wins as Intel wallows.

    Looking forward, beyond Raptor Lake, say, maybe the intensified engineering efforts that have followed the change of management at Intel will start to pay dividends. We shall see.
    Reply
  • Mike Bruzzone - Tuesday, January 25, 2022 - link

    If Intel shed its fabs Intel would go bankrupt on their existing cost structure despite the fact Intel has been re-engineering its cost structure (replacing) on diversification attempts and tries for the last 20 years. Intel may finally be getting it's cost structure optimized on diversification and reconfiguring from producing for supply to financially monopolize channels to producing for demand that cuts a lot of nonsense costs from the bottom line. mb Reply
  • flgt - Saturday, January 22, 2022 - link

    Speculation, but this probably has less to do with water supply, electricity, or winter conditions. It’s politicians trying to keep votes for a bunch of rust belt union workers who are about to lose in the EV transition. Reply
  • Threska - Saturday, January 22, 2022 - link

    Considering how long all this takes, most already would have lost before plans come to conclusion. Plus, electronics fabrication is different than most rust belt industry, taking a good while to retrain. Reply

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