Intel Invests Billions In Building Super-Tiny Chips

Get ready for the next generation of computer guts. Intel announced this week that it is investing up to $8 billion on a new chip development fabrication plant in Oregon and upgrades to plants in Oregon and Arizona. But here’s all you really need to know: expensive manufacturing plant upgrades mean we’ll see tiny, fast, efficient microprocessors coming down the pipeline. And that means more powerful, cheap electronic devices are on the way, too.

Intel’s upgraded plants will produce the company’s first 22-nanometer microprocessor, codenamed “Ivy Bridge.” The chip, set to be released in 2011, is faster and has a lower heat output than earlier models (Intel’s fastest model on the market is 32nm). Ivy Bridge will be the smallest mass-market chip yet. In practical terms, that means we can expect lightning-fast, extended-battery laptops that don’t burn your crotch quite so quickly.

According to Forbes, these faster chips won’t be limited to laptops; they’ll also find their way into smartphones and other handheld electronic devices. That’s where Intel’s new Oregon plant comes in–the site will be used primarily for research and development into even smaller, faster chips for a variety of devices.

And of course, new and expanded plants mean new jobs. Intel’s projects will create 6,000 to 8,000 construction jobs and 800 to 1,000 new permanent high-tech jobs–all in the U.S. Jobs and super-fast semiconductors for all!

Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.AS