Feeds

Intel reveals 14nm PC, declares Moore's Law 'alive and well'

But is Chipzilla whistling in the dark?

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

IDF13 Intel wants you to know that Moore's Law is not dead. And to prove it, CEO Brian Krzanich rolled out his company's next generation of process shrinkage at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco.

"I'm here to introduce the first 14-nanometer PC," Krzanich said during his Tuesday keynote. The Ultrabook he displayed to his audience was based on Intel's 14nm "Broadwell" microarchitecture, and was "fully operational" – and to prove it, Krzanich demoed the laptop playing ZeptoLab's Cut the Rope.

"This is it, folks," he said. "Fourteen nanometers is here, it's working, and will be shipping by the end of this year." According to Krzanich, 14nm Broadwell systems will provide a 30 per cent improvement in power consumption over today's comparable 22nm "Haswell" chips – but power saving may be even greater.

"We're not done yet," he said. "That's as far as we've been able to test it so far."

The Broadwell chip playing Cut the Rope in Krzanich's demo will be joined by an Atom-based 14nm chip, he said, around the end of 2014.

Intel president Renée James, who shared the keynote stage with Krzanich, was adamant about the health of the Intel cofounder's guiding legislation. "Moore's Law has been declared dead at least once a decade since I've been at Intel," she said, "and as you know – you heard from Brian – we have 14 nanometer working and we can see beyond that. I assure you it's alive and well."

According to James, that "alive and well" status will allow Intel make it down to 7nm – although her presentation didn't include any projections beyond that node.

As anyone who has been following the chip-baking industry knows, getting down to 7nm without the advent of commercially usable extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography will be a daunting task – Intel CTO Justin Rattner admitted as much to The Reg just this May.

But EUV is proving to be an elusive technology, as GlobalFoundries CEO Ajit Manocha told SEMICON 2013 this July. "We all know that EUV is late," he said. "We desperately need EUV, and EUV is still not ready."

Another chip-process researcher, speaking at that same conference, has gone so far as to have given up on EUV. "I'm not working on EUV at all," said Laurent Miller, CEO of Leti, the nanotechnologies arm of the French research-and-technology organization CEA. "Absolutely not, because I don't believe in it."

Exactly what inspires James to have such faith in the continuance of Moore's Law, she didn't say. Krzanich, in fact, put the kibosh on one alternative technology – graphene transistors – in response to a question about that candidate in a first-ever keynote-audience Q&A.

"Graphene is totally exciting," he said. "We absolutely have research going on in graphene." However, he noted that cost, reliability, and repeatability make manufacturing graphene chips problematic. "I can tell you that in the next several generations you're not going to see a lot of graphene parts, but there's absolutely a lot of research going on."

Will Moore's Law – which, as James recounted correctly, has repeatly been declared dead for reasons of both physics and finance – rise from its deathbed one more time? Who knows – but as Intel Fellow Shekhar Borkar once told us, "The engineers, they'll find out a way to do it."

If Borkar's confidence is well-founded, perhaps 10 years from now during Kzanich's IDF23 keynote, he'll proudly tell his crowd, "I'm here to introduce the first graphene transitor–based PC." ®

Bootnote

Although Krzanich and James' tag-team keynote was 90 minutes of hoopla, futurism, medical miracles, and starry-eyed optimism, the discussion of such a meat-and-potatoes topic as transitor scaling was inevitable. As Krzanich said, "You can't have an Intel presentation without talking about Moore's Law."

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE
Warning: Likely to cost a lot even for a Mac
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.