Feeds

Happy 40th birthday, Intel 4004!

The first of the bricks that built the IT world

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Feeling the strain

But before it did, there was work to be done on process technology, and the introduction of the first of the three major post-scaling technologies that Mark Bohr talked about: strained silicon.

Intel Pentium II

Intel Pentium II: 233MHz, 266MHz, or 300MHz; 0.35-micron process (click to enlarge)

In a highly simplified nutshell, strained silicon involves the material being stretched – or strained – in such a way as to pull the individual silicon atoms apart from one another. Doing so frees up the electrons and holes in the material, increasing their mobility substantially, thus allowing for lower-power transistor designs.

Although strained silicon had been under investigation at MIT and elsewhere, the early techniques were was biaxial – that is, the entire silicon lattice was stretched. Intel's breakthrough was the development of uniaxial stretching. Biaxial straining was good for nMOS but bad for pMOS, both of which need to be balanced for good transistor performance.

Biaxial straining also had problems with source drain and defects, Bohr told us – "not a very manufacturable technology". The uniaxial approach, however, could be applied "just to the pMOS device," Bohr said, "and it didn't have any significant yield issues, so it turned out to be both a high-performance solution and a good manufacturing solution."

Intel Pentium III Xeon

Intel Pentium III Xeon: 600MHz to 1GHz, 0.18-micron process (click to enlarge)

But back to the departure and then the return of P6.

The follow-on architecture to P6 was NetBurst, and it was not exactly Intel's finest hour. By the time P6 had evolved into the Pentium III, its pipeline was just 10 stages long; NetBurst doubled that to 20 stages in the Willamette Pentium 4 in 2000, and increased that "Hyper Pipelined Technology" to 31 stages in the Prescott Pentium 4 in 2004 – which, by the way, was the first processor to use Bohr's 90nm strained silicon process technology.

According to Pawlowski, the reason for the deeper pipeline was "frequency, frequency, frequency". In a bit – well, more than a bit – of an oversimplification, deep pipelines require higher frequencies to achieve the same performance as architectures with shorter pipelines.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
Reg man looks through a Glass, darkly: Google's toy ploy or killer tech specs?
Tip: Put the shades on and you'll look less of a spanner
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
Tim Cook in Applerexia fears: New MacBook THINNER THAN EVER
'Supply chain sources' give up the goss on new iLappy
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
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.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
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.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.