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No copper for Intel until 0.13 micron

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There is no need for Intel to implement copper interconnects in its processors until 0.13 micron process technology arrives, a senior executive said today. Pierre Mirjolet, architecture marketing manager at Intel EMEA, claimed that while copper does have a resistivity less than 40 per cent than aluminium, Intel's interconnect technology provided better performance than current copper interconnect. (Intel slides for this presentation: Intel talks copper bottoms) "We have copper technology but from a volume production point of view, it doesn't make sense yet," he said. "We're not necessarily against new technology. For us, the new technology is not cost effective." He admitted that if Intel moved to its own existing copper technology, it would have to invest in wholly new equipment. He claimed that copper processs equipment is still immature, and would mean higher costs and lower initial yields. "Intel has been focusing on interconnect technology for 15 years," he said. "Then, Intel told its top brains in process development to focus on interconnect. Our approach might be different from other companies who use memory as a model and then move to logic." Interconnect technology, said Mirjolet, accounted for as much as 50 per cent of the cost of a microprocessor. ® *Mirjolet said that Intel had managed to get 16Mb SRAMs performing in its labs at 900MHz. However, he said this was a lab technology, and not a product announcement.

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