Why it matters: If there’s one thing Intel has been struggling with lately, it’s pumping out their CPUs. Not only has the 10nm fabrication process been delayed three years so far with no guarantee it will make it this year, but lately Intel’s 8th gen and 9th gen parts have suffered from low yields that have increased prices, reduced availability, and even forced them to return to 22nm in some cases.
Intel has unveiled new plans to expand a previously planned 90,000m2 manufacturing plant in Co Kildare, Ireland by another 110,000m2 with a budget of $8 billion. It’ll take four years and 3,000 construction workers to build and will employ 1,600 staff.
The new facility is an add-on to their existing Leixlip campus, which currently employs 4,500 people. While much of the new construction is raw manufacturing, a good portion of it is designed to increase the efficiency of the current manufacturing line.
In addition to several gigantic buildings, there’ll also be eight huge water tanks reaching up to 63m, 50m towers, backup generators, and wastewater treatment plants. It’ll need them, too: it’s expected to consume 37 million liters of water every day.
To help the local community take the blow from the massive and sudden growth, Intel has proposed plans to widen roads and set up buses and bike paths and parking spaces for new employees. They will also plant 6,000 trees and 12,000 shrubs on campus to mitigate environmental impact.
While this will be Ireland’s largest-ever private investment, there’s some doubt that Intel can pull it off. “We’ve been here before with other companies, which didn’t get over the line,” said an anonymous council member that is reviewing the blueprints. Apple, in particular, has announced large expansions in the country which it backed out from at the last minute.
Intel’s situation is different though. There’s no doubt that they’re in dire need of some expansion, and they must get 10nm sorted soon to compete with TSMC’s 7nm process, which will be arriving on Ryzen in less than six months. While this plant won’t arrive in time for that, it will no doubt give them a sorely needed boost down the line.