Feeds

Intel debuts '3D transistors' with 22nm chip recipe

How do ya like them, Apple?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

Intel has unveiled its 22nm manufacturing process.

The process marks the debut of Intel's "Tri-Gate" transistors, first revealed as a research project over eight years ago, and the company has demonstrated its first microprocessor built with the new process, a chip codenamed "Ivy Bridge".

Equipped with a three-sided gate – the portion of a transistor used to control current – the Tri-Gate provides 50 per cent less power consumption than existing planar transistors as well as "unprecedented" performance gains, according to Intel. Chipzilla boasts that this is "the world's first 3D transistor".

"This transition to 3D devices will help us extend Moore's Law," Bill Holt, Intel senior vice president and general manager of Intel's technology and manufacturing groups, said Wednesday morning at a press conference in San Francisco.

Prior to the press conference, Intel said it would make its "most significant technology announcement of the year", and it was widely expected that this would involve the switch to 22nm. In recent days, rumors have indicated with the new process set to roll out, Intel is hoping to land a new breed of lower power processors on Apple's iPhone and iPad.

A transistor consists of three basic components: a source, a gate, and a drain. When a voltage is applied to the gate, electrons flow from the source to the drain, turning the transistor "on". When a different voltage applied, current between source and drain stopped, turning the transistor "off".

You can imagine the source and drain as two ends of a square pipe through which electrons flow. Existing transistors are "planar". The gate, which controls the flow of electrons, sits atop the pipe, touching it on only one surface. The Tri-Gate is nonplanar. The gate wraps around the pipe, touching not only the top plane of the pipe but the two sides as well. Unlike with planar transistors, electrons can flow across three planes, moving significantly more current through the transistor than would be the case with a planar transistor of the same size.

This allows the Tri-Gate to operate at a low voltage, with lower current leakage. Intel can maximize current when the transistor is on, and minimize current when it's off. The company says that the 22nm Tri-Gate provides up to a 37 per cent performance increase at a low voltage compared to its 32nm planar transistor, as Intel Fellow Mark Bohr explained at the press conference. The transistor also consumes less than half the power as a 32nm planar transistor at the same performance level, the company said.

The new transistor is "ideal" for use in small handheld devices. Naturally, Apple was not mentioned. But the company did say it intends to use the new process with its mobile-centric Atom chips. The cost of building the chips with the new transistors, Bohr said, is two to three per cent higher per wafer.

Today, Dadi Perlmutter, executive vice president and general manager of Intel's architecture group, demonstrated the new "Ivy Bridge" chip, part of the company's Core family of microprocessors. It will be used in PCs, notebooks, and servers, and Perlmutter indicated that chips will arrive in volume early next year. The company did not give a timeframe for Atom's switch to 22nm. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Report: Apple seeking to raise iPhone 6 price by a HUNDRED BUCKS
'Well, that 5c experiment didn't go so well – let's try the other direction'
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Nvidia gamers hit trifecta with driver, optimizer, and mobile upgrades
Li'l Shield moves up to Android 4.4.2 KitKat, GameStream comes to notebooks
AMD unveils Godzilla's graphics card – 'the world's fastest, period'
The Radeon R9 295X2: Water-cooled, 5,632 stream processors, 11.5TFLOPS
Sony battery recall as VAIO goes out with a bang, not a whimper
The perils of having Panasonic as a partner
NORKS' own smartmobe pegged as Chinese landfill Android
Fake kit in the hermit kingdom? That's just Kim Jong-un-believable!
Gimme a high S5: Samsung Galaxy S5 puts substance over style
Biometrics and kid-friendly mode in back-to-basics blockbuster
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
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.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.