Feeds

Intel 45nm CPUs to use metal gates, high-k dielectric

One step ahead of the competition

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

Intel's 45nm microprocessors will incorporate transistors constructed with metal gates and high-k dielectric materials, the chip maker revealed today. That said, it was tight-lipped about which materials will actually make up these components in its 45nm dual-core die, 'Penryn'.

Penryn's transistors use a metal in place of the polysilicon material that controls the flow of current through today's transistors. And where standard processor transistors separate the gate from the source and drain, and the silicon substrate all these elements are mounted on, Penryn's transistors will use a high-k oxide.

intel's 45nm metal-gate, high-k transistor

The upshot, Intel claimed, was a "significant performance increase and leakage reduction" - less power is required to switch the flow of electrons through the transistor on and off. Leakage - the flow of current outside the transistor - is reduced, Intel said, because the use of a high-k material means the oxide layer can be thicker than is currently the case, making it harder for electrons to leak through. The high-k material is derived from Hafnium, but Intel would say no more.

It said the new transistor construction will see source-drain leakage reduced fivefold and gate oxide leakage tenfold. Or Intel can opt to raise the drive current 20 per cent, boosting the transistor's switch speed, which essentially means faster processing. Those figures are relative to a standard transistor rather than the design implemented in Intel's 65nm transistors, which included a low-k gate oxide.

Intel also claimed the metal gate and high-k combo would yield around a 30 per cent reduction in the power needed to switch the transistor.

Intel has been working on high-k dielectrics since 2003 at the very least, though it's a technique arch-rival AMD has in the past poo-poo'd. It has put its faith in silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology and a three-gate transistor design.

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
SHOCK and AWS: The fall of Amazon's deflationary cloud
Just as Jeff Bezos did to books and CDs, Amazon's rivals are now doing to it
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
The triumph of VVOL: Everyone's jumping into bed with VMware
'Bandwagon'? Yes, we're on it and so what, say big dogs
Carbon tax repeal won't see data centre operators cut prices
Rackspace says electricity isn't a major cost, Equinix promises 'no levy'
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
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.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.