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Intel plans 15nm Atoms

Intel plans 15nm Atoms

Intel's roadmap suggests 22nm and 15nm Atom chips, but doesn't provide a timescale.

Intel has unveiled a roadmap for the Atom processor which shows the netbook- and latterly mobile-oriented chip shrinking to a 15nm process.

Unveiled at the Intel Developer Forum, and first spotted by CNET, the roadmap suggests that existing 45nm and 32nm product lines will give way in the future to a whole raft of chips based around a 22nm process.

After exploiting that for a while, Intel plans to move the whole kaboodle over to a tiny 15nm process, while at the same time increasing the number of Atom chips across the entire range.

At the 45nm process size, there were four Atom processor families: the N-series, designed for use in netbooks; the D-series, aimed at nettops and low-power desktops; the Z-series for handheld devices; and the CE series, which found its home in consumer electronics like set-top boxes and interactive TV systems.

The move to 32nm added another line to the Atom range: the specialised E-series, designed for embedded computing systems.

According to Intel's roadmap, all five product lines will be making the transition to 22nm and 15nm in ever-increasing volume - but unfortunately, if somewhat predictably, Intel hasn't given a timescale on when the shrunken chips will be hitting the market.

Instead, the company has placed a simple arrow at the bottom of the graph, pointing to the right, labelled "Forecast," helpfully ruling out the possibility that it was to develop time travel technology and launch the 15nm chips some time in the 1990s.

A process shrink will help increase speeds and reduce power usage - something that Intel will be keen to do as soon as possible in order to better compete with low-power chip expert ARM.

Are you impressed that Intel is looking to 15nm already, or does a slide prove nothing about how prepared the company is to face the challenges of such a small process size? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

22 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Singularity 17th September 2010, 11:23 Quote
Well the general 45->32->22->15 evolution's been kicked around for a while now, so I fail to see this as news :S
Jezcentral 17th September 2010, 11:30 Quote
True, but it's good to see it. :)

The interesting thing for me is that the 11nm-15nm transistors are the wall that Moore's law will run up against. How are they going to get past it?
Cthippo 17th September 2010, 11:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jezcentral
True, but it's good to see it. :)

The interesting thing for me is that the 11nm-15nm transistors are the wall that Moore's law will run up against. How are they going to get past it?

I think quantum and carbon based systems are the two biggest contenders right now, but we're looking at 15-20 years until the limits of 15nm SOI become felt, so there nay be other tech out there that fills the bill.
perplekks45 17th September 2010, 11:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Singularity
Well the general 45->32->22->15 evolution's been kicked around for a while now, so I fail to see this as news :S
QFT

That's like saying: "BREAKING NEWS!!! Samsung plan to build TVs with higher resolutions... in the future." :|
Bindibadgi 17th September 2010, 12:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Singularity
Well the general 45->32->22->15 evolution's been kicked around for a while now, so I fail to see this as news :S

There won't be a 32 for mainstream parts. Only E-series.

Intel will keep the current process generation until the end of next year, so the original Atom core will have had a four year lifespan! 22nm should see a considerable power drop vs 45.

The news is that Intel intended to greatly expand the Atom core across many products - CE mostly - so instead of future products containing ARM chips like they do now, Intel wants you to be using IA-cored products in MP3 players, Blu-ray, TVs, White goods?
Isitari 17th September 2010, 12:11 Quote
well here come the picometre measurements.....not far now :D.
wuyanxu 17th September 2010, 12:20 Quote
i don't want Intel's inefficient CPU instruction set in my MP3 player/TV.
Fractal 17th September 2010, 13:39 Quote
I'm disappointed that Intel won't be releasing 15nm chips in the 1990s, I want my 1993 Toshiba Satellite to run faster...
Timmy_the_tortoise 17th September 2010, 14:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jezcentral
True, but it's good to see it. :)

The interesting thing for me is that the 11nm-15nm transistors are the wall that Moore's law will run up against. How are they going to get past it?

I thought 8nm was the absolute minimum...
Xir 17th September 2010, 15:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmy_the_tortoise
I thought 8nm was the absolute minimum...

A lot of people thought XXXnm was the absolute minimum :D

Meh, without a timeframe, this is no news. Sure, at some point in the future, they'll need to get smaller. Wow, i mean, just wow. :D
javaman 17th September 2010, 16:01 Quote
In the future TV's will be able to play crysis!!
zoea 17th September 2010, 16:04 Quote
I think we're looking at 7 years min before 15nm cores become mainstream
uz1_l0v3r 17th September 2010, 16:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by javaman
In the future TV's will be able to play crysis!!

In the future, PCs will be able to play Crysis!
Bindibadgi 17th September 2010, 16:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by javaman
In the future TV's will be able to play a video of Crysis!!

Fixed.
amacieli 17th September 2010, 18:43 Quote
For some reason, I thought that the spacing of crystalline silicon atoms was in nm. Not so. With the atomic radius measured in hundreds of pm, we have some way to go before hitting physical limits. But in any case, I rather suspect that they'll start stacking chips together to make CPU cubes before long. If they can figure out how to cool it.
HourBeforeDawn 17th September 2010, 20:16 Quote
well they have to do something because when Zucat hits the market it will take over the netbook and entry level laptop market. Also if Intel does this shrink then they could go completely passively cooled as they mentioned in some of their videos.
PingCrosby 18th September 2010, 15:55 Quote
I love Atoms, I've got a black one and take it round Cadwell Park on Track Days..it goes like hell.
Spuzzell 18th September 2010, 18:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by PingCrosby
I love Atoms, I've got a black one and take it round Cadwell Park on Track Days..it goes like hell.

Ah, no. That's 45 on the Nonce Meter scale. Easy mistake to make.
WarrenJ 20th September 2010, 11:04 Quote
TBH, 10 years ago mega-drives played Sonic, now, my phone yawns when playing sonic. 10 Years from now technology will be very different from what we have at the moment. I'm just going to wait and see.
Xir 20th September 2010, 11:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by PingCrosby
I love Atoms, I've got a black one and take it round Cadwell Park on Track Days..it goes like hell.

Ariel? :D
PingCrosby 12th February 2011, 13:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xir
Ariel? :D

No...Persil.
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