San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Intel Releases Line of Chips Designed Partly by Ticos

Intel released a line of microchips Monday that was designed in part by a group of Tico engineers at the company’s assembly and testing plant in La Ribera de Belén, northwest of San José.

The Penryn microprocessors are manufactured with cutting-edge techniques using 45-nanometer wafers – significantly smaller than the 65-nanometer wafers used before. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter.

The change means the 16 microprocessors released Monday – mostly destined for use in servers – are faster, smaller and use less energy than their older siblings, said Intel representatives at a press conference at the company’s sprawling complex.

“This is the greatest transistor advance in 40 years,” said Intel Costa Rica General Manager Mohsen Fazlian.

The Costa Rican plant was key to the design of the new chips: Sixty of the 400 engineers working on the project are Costa Rican.

Intel employs about 4,500 workers in Costa Rica, according to Fazlian. The company opened its facility here in 1996, and about 30% of the country’s exports by value can be linked to the Intel plant.


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