Intel CPU Production Origin

How and Where Intel CPU's are Made

Processing the World Around

Intel is an innovative company, specializing in computer processors, or CPU's (central processing units) powering workstations and home computers across the world.

Steps for Success

There are two main steps to creating an Intel CPU: Fabrication and Testing. This map shows the fabrication and testing sites that Intel has around the world.
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Wafers and Wires

CPU's are created in large batches called wafers. These wafers are created at the sites shown in the map below. These are essentially sheets of silicon stacked on top of each other with copper wiring in between the layers to transfer electrical signals. Up to 30 of these layers of silicon could be stacked to create a complete wafer.

Wafers are then sent to the test sites, where the wafers are tested. If the wafer is completely functional, it is cut into individual dies, which are the consumer sized CPU's. At this stage, the heat spreader and other pieces that must be added before being sold to consumers are added. They are then packaged and sent to warehouses, where they are sold by the distributors.

Down to the Basics

CPU's, or Central Processing Units, have a few key materials that make them up. The most important of these is silicon. It is used because it is non conductive and keeps the electrical signals inside the CPU.
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Digging for Silicon

Silicon is a metal that is abundant in Earth's crust, but can also be made artificially. As of now, most silicon is mined, mostly in Africa and China. Another source of silicon is found in the Netherlands, which is the mine used by Intel.
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Connecting the Cables

Copper is used to conduct electricity and make the CPU work. Converse to silicon, copper is very conductive, and is used to send electrical signals within the CPU.

Copper is also mined, like Silicon, in Africa. One of these mines is in Mali, Africa. Here is also where the other minerals that are used in small amounts in the CPU are found, like tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold.

Simplified Process

-Copper and Silicon Mined

-Fabrication Labs create Wafers

-Wafers sent to Testing/Assembly Labs

-Wafers are assembled into individual CPU's and sent to a distributor

-Distributors sell to retails

-Retailers sell to consumers

Changing the World

The effect the manufacturing of a product has on the world can be refined into four categories:


This includes using limited resources and polluting the environment. Since the CPU chips use traces of gold and large amounts of silicon, which are limited resources mined from the ground, these resources will eventually be used up.


This is exchanging money in exchange for goods between countries. Most problems arise when companies in developed countries are purchasing goods from underdeveloped countries. For example, many mineral producing African colonies are run by warlords who use the citizens as slaves to gather the minerals before selling it to the companies.


Intel does a lot of technological globalization. Producing CPU's at a lower cost will make them more available to everybody for education, work, and entertainment. Some issues arise too, however. As this technology grows cheaper, people are more likely to abuse this technology to illegal hack and scam users.


Technology companies today have a unique ability to shape culture. Vast amounts of readily available technology make communication, entertainment, and education easier. These uses are then more likely to be converted to online media. Video calls and virtual textbooks are pushed into the mainstream because of technology companies such as Intel. This causes people to do less face to face communication, which loses meaning in communication,

Patching the Problems

In my opinion, the largest issue here is the encouragement of poor living conditions ruled by dictators in silicon and gold mines. The rulers are getting all of the money, so the workers are not getting a better lifestyle because of the work they put in. An easy fix to this would be to move the mining operations to more developed countries with workers that earn a wage from their jobs, not just a place to live. There are similar mines in the Netherlands and South Africa, which are not ruled by dictatorship governments. This would work well, despite being at a higher cost to the company, they can be proud of the fact that they are not contributing to feeding the power hungry dictators of some African colonies.
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Reflect and Retell

I chose Intel's CPU's to trace because I am a consumer of the product. My home computer that I use for school and entertainment all the time has an Intel CPU powering it. I use my computer to complete homework, chat with friends, and play games to entertain myself in my free time. Growing technology is an important part of today's society, and my computer powered by an Intel CPU is my window to the future.