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Inside Intel's ambitious plans to regain chipmaker dominance

Before Intel's recent series of production delays, it led the world in advanced chip design and manufacturing. Now CEO Pat Gelsinger has a bold new plan to catch Samsung and TSMC by 2025, spending over $44 billion on new fabrication plants in the U.S., Europe and Israel. CNBC got an exclusive tour at the fab expansion outside Portland, Oregon, that's set to open early next year.
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Sat, Nov 6 20218:59 AM EDT

Intel was once synonymous with the world's most advanced chips and for inventing the building blocks of modern computing. Fifty years after its debut of the 4004, the world's first microprocessor, Intel has fallen behind.

Only two Asian companies, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company and Samsung, make the world's most advanced 5-nanometer chips. These semiconductors power Apple's latest iPhones and make cutting-edge data processing possible.

"They took their eye off the ball," said Stacy Rasgon, an analyst at Bernstein. "Once you fall off the treadmill, it's really really difficult to get back on; it's a very dynamic and fast-moving industry."

But Intel now has an ambitious roadmap to catch and surpass Samsung and TSMC by 2025. Key to the plan is a series of massive new chip fabrication plants, or fabs, that Intel is building in the U.S., Europe and Israel. Combined, these will cost more than $44 billion.

"I think I have more concrete trucks working for me today than any other human on the planet," said Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger. "We have construction in Oregon, New Mexico, Arizona, Ireland and Israel. And we expect to plant our next major fabs in the U.S. and Europe before the end of this year."

Watch the video to see CNBC's exclusive tour inside the clean rooms of Intel's massive chip fab in Hillsboro, Oregon, set to open early next year.