Intel’s New Transistor Technology

Intel have announced that they’ve produced a fully functioning memory chip using 35 nanometer transistors. The breakthrough, etching components that are 30% smaller than current processes, should be delivering production chips in 2005 – ensuing that Moore’s Law will hold true for a while yet. This will elicit relief from Intel whose main business is based around the capabilities of copper and silicon devices.

Intel developed special techniques to get round the heat dissipation and power consumption problems encountered with such dense components – such as shutting off areas of the chip that aren’t in use.

In 1965, Intel founder Gordon Moore predicted that the number of transistors in integrated circuits would double every two years in his paper “Cramming More Components onto Integrated Circuits”– and so far he’s been right. The law is expected to hold true until the end of the decade, by which time silicon and copper chip technology are expected to reach their physical limits. Capacitance and the laws of physics start to interfere with devices at this stage, and it expected that the next big advances will be made using optical and other technologies.

“Intel continues to meet the increasing challenges of scaling by innovating with new materials, processes and device structures,” said Sunlin Chou, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Technology and Manufacturing Group. “Intel’s 65nm process technology has industry-leading density, performance and power reduction features that will enable future chips with increased capabilities and performance. Intel’s 65nm technology is on track for delivery in 2005 to extend the benefits of Moore’s Law.”

Intel on the news

Moore’s Law

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?