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With the upcoming launch of Intel's Nehalem CPUs, the highly integrated CPU means a boost for corresponding flip-chip (FC) substrate demand is likely as more substrates are required for new designs, according to industry players.

Of the Nehalem lineup, Bloomfield, which will pack the processor and memory controller, as well as possibly more northbridge functions such as a GPU in a multi-chip-package (MCP), will demand more substrate layers, implying a larger size of substrate.

Besides the stronger integration requiring more substrate layers, 45nm process made ICs have a thinner line-width and more complicated structure, which also grows demand for more substrates, the industry players commented. Additionally, the Ibexpeak platform controller hub (PCH), which replaces the traditional southbridge in the Nehalem platform, features a new system-on-chip (SoC) design which will also require more substrates, the industry players remarked.

Among all major IC substrate makers, Ibiden and Nanya Printed Circuit Board (NPC) have already started shipments to Intel, with NPC seeing its substrate shipments to 45nm ICs grow to 20% of total FC shipments, up from 5% in the fourth quarter of 2007. Industry players acknowledged the rising role of NPC over FC substrates for advanced CPUs, given that the market has long been dominated by Japan-based vendors.