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March 03, 2008

Semiconductor fabrication status

IBM is producing PS3 cell processors using 45 nm processes on 300mm wafers

The die size of the Cell processor at 90 nm features was 221 mm**2. Therefore, the 45nm die size should be about 55-70 mm**2.

So a perfect wafer would have about 300 cell processors at 90nm and would have 1000 cell processors at 45nm.

Intel has announced 16 processors using the 45nm process

Most Intel processors are still in the 100-220 mm**2 die size range

Intel is spending about $7.5 billion to open four 45nm chip processing plants.

Intel is planning to start the shift to 32 nm processes in late 2009


Semiconductor plants produce about 50,000 wafers per month at maximum production. But plants can be in the 15000-20000 range as well

Some of the newest fabrication plants are targeting 60,000 wafers per month

These plants cost about $3 billion each.

Advanced printable electronics or nanofactories would need to have those levels of productions given similar investments. $3 million printable electronic machines could each produce only 60 wafers (18,000 200 mm**2 die size ships) per month with similar performance chips and they would be competitive with current semiconductor fabrication.

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