Feeds

Boffins pave way for 400x rise in CPU transistor count

Radical transistor design to be unveiled next month

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

Scientists at the University of California's Berkeley campus have developed a new transistor design that they claim could allow chip makers to increase the number of such devices on a given slice of silicon fourhundredfold. Full details of the new transistor, called FinFET, will be presented next month, but the device essentially contains a new gate design -- the part of the semiconductor that controls the flow of electrons through the device, and allows it to operate as a switch. In the new design, the gate provides better flow control than before, reducing current leakage and so allowing the transistor as a whole to shrink in size. Currently, the Berkeley team have cut the size of the transistor down to 18nm, ten times smaller than existing chip transistors. Team leader Chen Ming Hu, professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at Berkeley, believes the new design can be further reduced by a factor of two. With even just 100 times as many transistors per chip (from a ten times smaller transistor), the FinFET design will allow chip makers to significantly improve the functionality of microprocessors, or to shrink chip designs to improve yields and reduce prices. Presumably, existing CPUs will have to be remodelled using the new transistor design, so we're more likely to see the technology used in future parts rather than current ones. Either way, it should ensure that the need to move to the next level of process technology, 0.15 micron, won't have to take place as soon as previously thought in order to maintain the current demand for more and more transistors within each processor. Couple this with other attempts to improve the efficiency of transistors, such as IBM's Silicon on Insulator (SOI) process, and the physical limitations on the development of semiconductors will be reached less quickly than before. Fortunately, all semiconductor manufacturers should benefit. The Berkeley team is not patenting its design in order to allow its widespread use throughout the chip industry. ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.