22 January 2014
FinFET yields caused Intel to mothball Fab42
Industry watcher Malcolm Penn gave an interesting interpretation at his IFS 2014 event of why Intel has mothballed Fab 42. The company, he believes, has been too successful in scaling its FinFET technology.
"Yields from its FinFET process have been much better than expected," he suggested. "This means Intel will only need two 14nm fabs, rather than the three it had planned for. It's a better position to be in than not having enough capacity." A further factor has been the decline in demand for pc processors.
Penn pointed out that Intel got out of the planar transistor world at the 40nm node, in contrast to the foundries, which continue to develop planar implementations. "So Intel has had a long run at learning how to make them."
Apart from Intel having this 'long run', said Penn, it didn't have to worry about anyone but itself. "TSMC has to work with a large number of customers and it's much harder to get things right."