The guys from DigiTimes had a chat with Mark Bohr from Intel about wafers and production process technology.
They heard Intel plans to switch to 450mm silicon wafers by 2011-2012, but that the transition should be industry-wide:
Speaking at a roundtable during the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in Beijing, Bohr noted that Intel usually strives to a wafer size conversion after every third or fourth process node generation. However, the company cannot do that alone, so in the current situation, it is necessary to convince silicon wafer manufacturers and production equipment suppliers to prepare solutions for the transition to 450mm wafers, he added.
In addition to the direct dialog with suppliers, according to Bohr, Intel will talk to industry consortiums and associations, such as SEMATECH and maybe SEMI (Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International), seeking more support from the industry.
Bohr also said Intel is not considering to use silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology yet, at least not until they reach the 32nm node. Intel claims SOI is too expensive for the relatively small performance gains it provides. However, it's possible that it may be useful for tri-gate transistors.