Intel, Samsung and TSMC today announced they have reached agreement on the need for industry-wide collaboration to target a transition to larger, 450mm-sized wafers starting in 2012.. The total silicon surface area of a 450mm wafer and the number of printed die is more than twice that of a 300mm wafer. The bigger wafers help lower the production cost per chip.

Intel Corporation, Samsung Electronics and TSMC today announced they have
reached agreement on the need for industry-wide collaboration to target a
transition to larger, 450mm-sized wafers starting in 2012. The transition to
larger wafers will enable continued growth of the semiconductor industry and
helps maintain a reasonable cost structure for future integrated circuit
manufacturing and applications.

The companies will cooperate with the semiconductor industry to help ensure that
all of the required components, infrastructure and capability are developed and
tested for a pilot line by this target date.

Historically, manufacturing with larger wafers helps increase the ability to
produce semiconductors at a lower cost. The total silicon surface area of a
450mm wafer and the number of printed die (individual computer chips, for
example) is more than twice that of a 300mm wafer. The bigger wafers help lower
the production cost per chip. Additionally, through more efficient use of
energy, wafer and other resources, bigger wafers can help diminish overall use
of resources per chip. For example, the conversion from 200mm wafers to 300mm
wafers helped reduce aggregate emissions per chip of air pollution, global
warming gasses and water, and further reduction is expected with a transition to
450mm wafers.

“There is a long history of innovation and problem solving in our industry that
has delivered wafer transitions resulting in lower costs per area of silicon
processed and overall industry growth.” said Bob Bruck, vice president and
general manager, Technology Manufacturing Engineering in Intel’s Technology and
Manufacturing Group. “We, along with Samsung and TSMC, agree that the transition
to 450mm wafers will follow the same pattern of delivering increased value to
our customers.”

Intel, Samsung and TSMC indicate that the semiconductor industry can improve its
return on investment and substantially reduce 450mm research and development
costs by applying aligned standards, rationalizing changes from 300mm
infrastructure and automation, and working toward a common timeline. The
companies also agree that a cooperative approach will help minimize risk and
transition costs.

“The transition to 450mm wafers will benefit the entire ecosystem of the IC
industry, and Intel, Samsung, TSMC will work together with suppliers and other
semiconductor manufacturers to actively develop 450mm capability,” said
Cheong-Woo Byun, senior vice president, Memory Manufacturing Operation Center,
Samsung Electronics.

In the past, migration to the next larger wafer size traditionally began every
10 years after the last transition. For example, the industry began the
transition to 300mm wafers in 2001, a decade after the initial 200mm
manufacturing facilities (also known as “fabs”) were introduced in 1991. Keeping
in line with the historical pace of growth, Intel, Samsung and TSMC agree that
2012 is an appropriate target to begin the 450mm transition. Given the
complexity of integrating all of the components for a transition of this size,
the companies recognize that consistent evaluation of the target timeline will
be critical to ensure industry-wide readiness.

“Increasing cost due to the complexity of advanced technology is a concern for
the future,” said Mark Liu, TSMC’s senior vice president of Advanced Technology
Business. “Intel, Samsung, and TSMC believe the transition to 450mm wafers is a
potential solution to maintain a reasonable cost structure for the industry.”

The three companies will continue to work with International Sematech (ISMI), as
it plays a critical role in coordinating industry efforts on 450mm wafer supply,
standards setting and developing equipment test bed capabilities.