Feeds

Boffins pave way for 400x rise in CPU transistor count

Radical transistor design to be unveiled next month

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Number crunching suggests Yahoo! US is worth less than nothing
China and Japan holdings worth more than entire company
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.