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Intel tooling up for 14nm transistors

Intel tooling up for 14nm transistors

Intel has confirmed a manufacturing process shrink beyond the forthcoming 22nm process due to be used in Ivy Bridge CPUs.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini has revealed that Intel is currently tooling up fabrication plants for 14nm transistor technology, indicating that Moore’s Law is set to continue well past the 22nm 3D Tri-Gate transistors expected next year.

Moore’s Law is a key factor to Intel’s design philosophy, with the Otellini saying that the progression of Moore’s Law is akin to human innovation and progress. It’s no surprise that Intel is always keen to Gordon Moore’s observation proved accurate.

There have been may obstacles to this progress, but ‘each time, Intel engineers have found a way to innovate past, around and through perceived obstacles using new materials, inventing new technologies along the way,’ according to Otellini.

While the most recent example of Intel keeping Moore’s Law alive is the Tri-Gate transistor, which Otellini described as enabling ‘new levels of performance and power efficiency across the computing spectrum. The world needs Moore’s Law to continue, and Intel is committed to make this happen.

‘To that end I can tell you that we already have line-of-sight to our 14nm technology. In fact, we are well into development of this technology and are beginning to build and tool our factories to support it.


Otellini gave to timeline as to when these fabs would deliver the technology for a retail product, not how many (or even which) fabs were being tooled up for the new manufacturing process. However, it’s clear that Intel is doing its upmost to keep transistors shrinking and thus deliver ever smaller circuits for smaller, sleeker devices.

Annoyed that you’ll have to wait too long for the new transistors, or just relived that progress doesn’t show any signs of slowing? Let us know in the forum.

15 Comments

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jcb121 13th September 2011, 22:08 Quote
so in 14nm, how many transistors could i swallow at once?
MrGumby 14th September 2011, 00:39 Quote
Reminds me of a cpc article years ago, regarding future chip design. Think we we at 65nm at the time and mentioned 45nm and 32nm. Its fun to go back and re-read these articles and see how close some predictions were.
Action_Parsnip 14th September 2011, 01:48 Quote
I have a feeling 22nm will be around for alot longer than they hope it will be. The pace of change has already slowed down some.
sstteevveenn 14th September 2011, 02:19 Quote
utmost
SpAceman 14th September 2011, 05:19 Quote
I'm sure I had heard that 15nm was next.... This is even better!

I found an old PC at work the other day that was hidden in the corner of the IT department (2 desks in the corner) and booted it up to find Win2K and a 130nm Athlon XP. Its amazing how far we have come with transistor technology.
fluxtatic 14th September 2011, 07:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcb121
so in 14nm, how many transistors could i swallow at once?

Even at 32nm, as I recall, aren't there Nvidia GPUs with just over a billion already? So, if you don't mind a little scratching on the way down, say, 2.25 bn?
Anneon 14th September 2011, 08:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by fluxtatic
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcb121
so in 14nm, how many transistors could i swallow at once?

Even at 32nm, as I recall, aren't there Nvidia GPUs with just over a billion already? So, if you don't mind a little scratching on the way down, say, 2.25 bn?

Assuming you dont want to risk choking on your bite of silicon goodness I would assume you would want a bite of around a 2cm sphere. Therefore giving you a bit more at 2.99 billion. Let me know how that works out or you please.
Xir 14th September 2011, 09:53 Quote
Hmmm, not very nutricious but...be my guest.
l3v1ck 14th September 2011, 16:14 Quote
Can someone just remine me how wide a single layer of atoms is?
How low can they theortically go?
azazel1024 14th September 2011, 16:51 Quote
It depends on the atoms. IIRC at 14nm there is something around 30 atoms composing the width of the transistor. Now this varies depending on the atomic composition as some molecules have bonds that are larger and some smaller.

As it is we are rapidly getting to the point where transistors litterally can't get smaller because they are single atoms. Now really that is a decade + away even if the current pace on miniturization keeps up, but we are getting there in my life time if we don't hit some kind of quantum barrier before then.

I think at some point, I don't know when, but I'd guess in the 6-10nm range making the transistors smaller is going to produce almost no benifit and that we are going to need to focus more on making them switch faster and more efficient. Could be when hybrid electrooptical circuits are needed, or even all optical.
rickysio 14th September 2011, 17:05 Quote
There's also quantum tunnelling mucking things up at scales that small.
Bluephoenix 14th September 2011, 20:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by l3v1ck
Can someone just remine me how wide a single layer of atoms is?
How low can they theortically go?

based on the scientific articles about very early research on carbon nanotube transistors, if that technology were to be made workable it would be near electrically perfect and about 3nm in width.

so quite small, but almost there!
Xir 15th September 2011, 09:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by rickysio
There's also quantum tunnelling mucking things up at scales that small.
That's already beeing used really :D
Switching voltages for Transistors are effectively lower than they shoud be in theory
Remember we're talking structure width here...structure thickness has reached the level of one-atom-less-and-it-won't-work-anymore a couple of years ago ;)

Gate oxide thickness has been under 10A for ...gee, half a decade at least? :D
leeds_manc 4th October 2011, 16:51 Quote
I'll let my four year old PC off then, relative to this, it's made from transistors the size of breezeblocks. I wonder though if 22nm will prove to be the sweet spot for speed and reliability, with 14/11nm being iPhone/iPad 17 only?
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