Intel teams up with Samsung, Toshiba

November 2, 2010 // 7:36 a.m.

Tags: #10nm #11nm #current-leakage #intel #japan #optical-computing #process-size #research #research-and-development #samsung #toshiba

Intel, Toshiba, and Samsung have joined forces to develop technologies to bring process sizes down as low as 11nm, with planned facilities to include research labs and a manufacturing facility in Japan.

The deal, which was reported in Japanese newspaper The Nikkei this weekend, sees the three companies combine their efforts and launch a new initiative which aims to solve some of the problems with the ever-shrinking process size in the semiconductor market.

Although Intel is still working on launching its 22nm-based CPUs, it's clearly looking ahead. Thankfully, it won't be working on the problem alone, as the three companies will be joining staff, facilities, and money together to crack the next big step in semiconductor evolution.

The initial investment from the three companies will be equalled by seed funding from the Japanese Ministry of Economy, with the expected total initial investment to reach around ¥10 billion, or around £77.5 million.

Each company will have its own reasons for joining forces with the other two, but one of the main reasons certainly has to be an attempt to counter the threat from IBM and AMD, who entered into a similar research agreement into technologies for reduced process sizes several years ago.

Better technologies for the creation of ultra-small process size semiconductors holds great promise for NAND flash memory, CPUs, and GPUs, unlocking increased performance and lowered power draw, but only if solutions for current leakage can be found.

While some companies work on improving the technologies behind electrical circuits, IBM is hedging its bets and continues to invest money in an optical computing initiative which it claims could unlock processors that perform several orders of magnitude better than existing chips while consuming a tenth of the power.

Are you pleased to see Intel teaming up with other companies to crack the ever-shrinking process size problem, or does the company need to take a leaf out of IBM's book and start looking for the next big thing rather than refining the technology we already have? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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