"This project represents a first for Intel -- the first complete conversion of an existing 200mm wafer fab to a 300mm fab," said Bob Baker, Intel senior vice president and general manager, Technology and Manufacturing Group. "The flexibility of our factory designs allows us to completely and efficiently modify the interior of the cleanroom to accommodate the much larger 300mm production equipment.Fab 12 will become Intel's 5th 300mm wafer facility. Five 300mm fabs provide the equivalent manufacturing capacity of about 10 200mm factories Intel claims. The other 300mm fabs are located in Hillsboro, Oregon (two fabs), Rio Rancho, N.M. and Leixlip, Ireland.
"This conversion will not only enable us to improve our capital efficiency by giving us more than twice the capacity at significantly lower costs, but it will enable us to utilize our experienced and talented workforce in Arizona."
Wafers of 300mm are approx. 12inches in diameter providing a 225% surface area increase over 200mm wafers. This allows manufactors to put many more chips on a wafer. And this reduces the cost of each chip. These bigger wafers also diminsh the overall use of resources and they require 40% less energy and water for each produced chip.