Intel plans to spend $3.5 billion upgrading its chipmaking plant in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.


Intel

Intel on Monday announced a $3.5 billion upgrade to a chip manufacturing plant in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, that will boost a processor stacking technology called Foveros. That spending, combined with $20 billion to build two new facilities in Arizona, is part of a major effort by Intel to rejuvenate its manufacturing.

The chipmaker on Sunday confirmed the upgrade plan, first reported on CBS’ 60 Minutes, and said Monday it’ll mean 700 new jobs at the site over the next three years. Intel manufacturing chief Keyvan Esfarjani detailed the plan at a press conference with New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, New Mexico’s two senators, Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luj├ín, and Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez, Intel said. The spending also means 1,000 new construction jobs, with work starting this year.

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Intel led chipmaking progress for decades but fell behind Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. in recent years. Investing in its new chipmaking plants, called fabs, is part of a major Intel effort to restore its competitiveness under new CEO Pat Gelsinger. The company is also planning to build chips for others, a business called a foundry, and to rely on other chip foundries to build some of its own chips.

At the New Mexico fab, Intel will increase use of a processor packaging technology called Foveros that Intel debuted in 2018 and first used in an efficient but uncommon chip code-named Lakefield. Stacking separate chip elements atop one another and connecting them with power distribution and communication links is technologically difficult, but Intel expects it’ll increase manufacturing flexibility. It also could be used to accommodate chip elements made at other chip foundries.

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