Feeds

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

But is Chipzilla whistling in the dark?

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

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."

Application security programs and practises

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
For Lenovo US, 8-inch Windows tablets are DEAD – long live 8-inch Windows tablets
Reports it's killing off smaller slabs are greatly exaggerated
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Seventh-gen SPARC silicon will accelerate Oracle databases
Uncle Larry's mutually-optimised stack to become clearer in August
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
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.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.