'

Intel said to halt upgrade to Irish fab

According to reports from finance site Barron's and from a source familiar with the plant, Intel has suspended a planned upgrade to its Irish chip manufacturing plant, Fab 24.Barron's quoted analyst C J Muse from Barclays Capital as saying that "...

According to reports from finance site Barron's and from a source familiar with the plant, Intel has suspended a planned upgrade to its Irish chip manufacturing plant, Fab 24.

Barron's quoted analyst C J Muse from Barclays Capital as saying that "... Intel has decided to remove Fab 24 (Ireland) from its 1270 (22nm) roadmap [...] We understand the decision [to reallocate the capacity elsewhere] or to mothball will be made by the second week in September." The plant is in Leixlip, County Kildare.

At the same time, a source connected with events told ZDNet UK on Tuesday that they had "just heard from [...] that Intel announced a stop on its development of Fab 24 at Leixlip plant earlier today. Apparently contractors told this morning." The same source said on Wednesday that a meeting had been called with the contractors on Friday to update them on the situation and that "a few disgruntled types went to the press and were escorted off the premises this morning," but that "nobody seems bothered".

Fab 24 is currently configured for 90 and 65nm chips. If it is not upgraded for 22nm, Intel may upgrade it in a couple of years' time for 14nm.

UPDATE: An Intel spokesperson has replied to questions asked by ZDNet UK via email:

Does this affect the $500m investment in Fab 24 announced in January, either in the scope or in timing of the spend?

It does not affect the $500 million. We don't breakout out capital spending in terms of timing or scope. We said we'll make the investment and it still stands.

What form will the investment take if Fab 24 isn't being moved to 22nm?

As mentioned above, we do not break out capital spending in terms of timing or scope. We did not confirm a specific node for Fab 24 when we made the investment announcement in February. As of today, we are not planning to build 22nm at Fab24, but as we said, we will spend the capital to prepare for a future node.

Have the plans for Fab 14 changed at all since January?

There is no change to our current plan to prepare the F14 facility for future generation high volume advanced manufacturing. We are very pleased with the progress of this project to date (200 fulltime hires, >850 construction jobs) and we are committed to delivering this project as promised to the corporation.