Intel Corp. said on Tuesday it would implement an Israeli-designed new micro-architecture in all segments of the computer market around the world beginning in the second half of 2006.
Intel said the 64-bit microprocessor at the heart of the new architecture was code-named "Merom" and would be implemented in desktop computers, laptops and servers, to be made with Intel's 65 nanometre chip-making technology.
It also noted that its dual-core Conroe processor for desktop computers and the Woodcrest processor for servers are based on Intel's new micro-architecture and were developed at Intel's two main development centers in Israel, where the Centrino mobile processor was designed.
The announcements, part of a strategy to shift its focus on power efficiency and away from raw speed amid stiff competition from its smaller rival, Advanced Micro Devices , come as Intel on Tuesday broke ground on a $4 billion chip plant in the southern Israeli town of Kiryat Gat.
Intel is investing $3.5 billion in the plant, the largest investment ever by a foreign industrial firm in the country. That will be augmented by $525 million of government funding.
"We are talking about an investment which is unprecedented in the history of the State of Israel," Interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said at the ground-breaking ceremony.
Intel is one of Israel's largest exporters, with $1.19 billion in 2005, after $1.16 billion in 2004.
Intel's exports, which peaked at $2.02 billion in 2002, account for 14 percent of those from Israel's electronics and information sectors. The U.S. chip giant is also one of Israel's largest employers, with 6,700 people on its books.
"This growth will continue in 2006," Intel said.
The new plant, named FAB 28, will be Intel's second 45 nanometre factory in the world. The first is being built in Arizona in the southwest United States. It is expected to come on line in late 2007.
Intel, which has operated in Israel for more than 30 years, will also carry out a $600 million upgrade of its existing plant and receive government tax incentives for doing so.
Bob Baker, the head of Intel's Technology and Marketing group, declined to comment on investment in Israel beyond the current outlay, but he did not rule it out. Intel has six research and development plants and two production facilities in the Jewish state.
The new plant will produce 300 mm wafers using 45 nanometre process technology starting in the second half of 2008. Manufacturing with 300 mm wafers (about 12 inches in diameter) significantly increases the ability to produce semiconductors at a lower cost than with more commonly used 200 mm wafers.
Baker also said Intel was making a $1 million donation for an IT training center in the Gaza Strip.