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AMD, IBM develop 45nm high-k metal gate transistor

AMD, IBM develop 45nm high-k metal gate transistor

Close up gate shots taken with an electron microscope. Very tiny indeed.

AMD and IBM have joined forces to make something Intel announced six months ago: high-k metal gate transistor technology for their jointly developed 45nm process.

Intel does have the edge with its Halfnium-Oxide based insulator whereas the AMD-IBM combo will continue to use strained silicon technology.

Their 45nm process is highlighted to have a lower current leakage and higher capacitance of transistors, for a lower power usage and improved performance.

Interestingly it's only planned for second generation 45nm and the first generation 32nm technology processes. Therefore, it seems like AMD's Shanghai core - its first 45nm core, coming next year - will still use traditional manufacturing technologies.

This means Intel will be 12-18 months ahead at least, when it comes to the introduction of its 45nm technology with similar high-k metal gate technology used for its Penryn family of processors later this year.

When will the size reduction end: can we still achieve 25nm and below come 2010 onwards? Your thoughts are always welcome in the bit-tech community forums.

12 Comments

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kenco_uk 30th July 2007, 14:05 Quote
What's needed is a picture of the tip of a biro or something similar to accentuate the sheer smallness of the transistor. For all I know, my cpu could be filled with a billion fluffy bunnies.
completemadness 30th July 2007, 16:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenco_uk
What's needed is a picture of the tip of a biro or something similar to accentuate the sheer smallness of the transistor. For all I know, my cpu could be filled with a billion fluffy bunnies.
the tip of the biro would engulf the whole image i believe - maybe a human hair could be put next to it ...
FIBRE+ 30th July 2007, 16:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by completemadness
the tip of the biro would engulf the whole image i believe - maybe a human hair could be put next to it ...

From which area of the body?, as they normally differ in thickness.

Lets play Higher or Lower
Nature 30th July 2007, 18:03 Quote
The article "logical conclusions" could link it's story to this news of new innovation from intel&IBM, AMD is getting around the corner, whilst intel has nerd scouts for high schools.. They invest so much in their "creative recruitment" and development.

Inel has merely reinvented the Pentium M.... and now shrinking it.
hitman012 30th July 2007, 18:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenco_uk
What's needed is a picture of the tip of a biro or something similar to accentuate the sheer smallness of the transistor. For all I know, my cpu could be filled with a billion fluffy bunnies.
A biro tip is too large. They're usually 1mm or so in diameter, so you could fit about 45,000 gates in a line over the visible part of the ball tip. The width of a typical human hair is about 80 µm, making it a bit better for comparison. The gate is 45 nanometres across, making them about 1800 times smaller than that. Here's a rough diagram (it's a large image so that the 2px transistor is visible).

The transistor is obviously larger than just the gate but it gives you an idea of the ridiculous scale involved.
Bindibadgi 30th July 2007, 18:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by completemadness
the tip of the biro would engulf the whole image i believe - maybe a human hair could be put next to it ...

You're talking nanometers, and human hairs are far far larger still. Remember it's HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS in the space of your fingernail, and you're seeing only part of one in that picture.
Joeymac 30th July 2007, 23:38 Quote
The other way round to do the comparison is how big would a chip be if the gate or the transistor was the size of a smartie or something.
kenco_uk 31st July 2007, 00:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by hitman012
A biro tip is too large. They're usually 1mm or so in diameter, so you could fit about 45,000 gates in a line over the visible part of the ball tip. The width of a typical human hair is about 80 µm, making it a bit better for comparison. The gate is 45 nanometres across, making them about 1800 times smaller than that. Here's a rough diagram (it's a large image so that the 2px transistor is visible).

The transistor is obviously larger than just the gate but it gives you an idea of the ridiculous scale involved.

Holy crap, that's quite small.
hitman012 31st July 2007, 01:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joeymac
The other way round to do the comparison is how big would a chip be if the gate or the transistor was the size of a smartie or something.
The die size of these 45nm chips is apparently going to be 107 mm2. If the gate was the size of a Smartie, then your Smartie processor die would have an area of be 107 mm2 * (1.1cm / 48nm)2 = about 5.6 million m2 (5.6 km2). Take your pick, but that's either 21,000 tennis courts, 4500 Olympic-size swimming pools, 900 football pitches, or 22 times the floor area of the Empire State Building.
Joeymac 31st July 2007, 06:17 Quote
I think the word required here is.... "blimey".. or something to that effect.

So when they design a processor, without any of the actual "designing it" or making it work, just the shear leg-work, it is the same as sorting and lining up enough smarties to cover 21,000 tennis courts! Wowzer!

Thanks for doing the sums :D
Xir 1st August 2007, 09:15 Quote
Sorry, quoted wrong.
New post below
Xir 1st August 2007, 09:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joeymac
So when they design a processor, without any of the actual "designing it" or making it work, just the shear leg-work, it is the same as sorting and lining up enough smarties to cover 21,000 tennis courts! Wowzer!

Yes, and then connecting them in 3-D over 9 layers :D

Cheers,

Xir
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