Intel’s Revolutionary 3-D Chip Will Affect Device Speed, Performance

May 5, 2011 – 8:06 am

Intel's 3-D chip

The vertical 3-D fins of Intel’s tri-gate transistors are shown passing through the gates.

Described as the biggest breakthrough in microprocessor design in more than 50 years, transistors using a 3-D structure have been developed by Intel Corp. and will be put into high-volume manufacturing. The Tri-Gate design, first disclosed by Intel in 2002, represents a fundamental departure from the two-dimensional planar transistor structure that has powered not only all computers, mobile phones and consumer electronics to-date, but also the electronic controls within cars, spacecraft, household appliances, medical devices and virtually thousands of other everyday devices for decades, notes Intel in a press release.

Intel’s 3-D Tri-Gate transistors enable chips to operate at lower voltage with lower leakage, providing an unprecedented combination of improved performance and energy efficiency compared to previous state-of-the-art transistors, according to Intel. The capabilities give chip designers the flexibility to choose transistors targeted for low power or high performance, depending on the application.

“Intel’s scientists and engineers have once again reinvented the transistor, this time utilising the third dimension,” said Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini. “Amazing, world-shaping devices will be created from this capability as we advance Moore’s Law into new realms.”

Yes, this changes everything, but it may take a little time before the technology comes to a device near you. Be patient.

In the meantime, watch this video on Intel’s 3-D breakthrough for a better understanding of what all the fuss is about.

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