Major Chip Makers Expand Production in the West

Do the moves foreshadow a drop in high tech unemployment?

1 min read

A couple of major chip makers seem to be bucking the trend that has seen most of the world’s manufacturing firms scramble to set up shop in places where there are leagues of technically skilled people willing to accept a fraction of the prevailing wages in the United States and Western Europe. Globalfoundries, which was already in the process of building a chip fabrication facility in upstate New York, recently announced that it will tack on an additional 27 800 square meters of clean room space. The move, which will allow the fab to turn out 60 000 22-nanometer wafers per month when it is completed in 2012, will mean dozens of new jobs in the area. The company also announced an expansion of its Dresden, Germany, facility where it will eventually make 28 nm wafers. The output there is slated to reach 80 000 units a month.

Meanwhile, Samsung is readying a new production line at its Austin, Texas, semiconductor manufacturing facility that will create 500 new jobs. The addition, which will be the site of 45-nm LSI logic chip wafer production, is expected to come on line in 2011.

These moves come after Intel’s 2009 announcement that it will spend US $7 billion to upgrade its Oregon, Arizona, and New Mexico factories so they can do 32-nm production. Intel says the investment will create or save about 7000 U.S. jobs.

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The State of the Transistor in 3 Charts

In 75 years, it’s become tiny, mighty, ubiquitous, and just plain weird

3 min read
A photo of 3 different transistors.
iStockphoto
LightGreen

The most obvious change in transistor technology in the last 75 years has been just how many we can make. Reducing the size of the device has been a titanic effort and a fantastically successful one, as these charts show. But size isn’t the only feature engineers have been improving.

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