Sunday, November 11, 2007

Intel chip manufacturing trends

Once again, Intel Corp. is ready to release a new line of microchips, and everyone is rightly bamboozled by them. This chart was taken from The Wall Street Journal (Nov 7, 2007), and is interesting for the trend it shows. It would appear that in very late 2008 or early 2009, on this curve, we should see a 30 nanometer chip with just over a billion transistors on it. The key to this is switching the underlying materials used in the manufacturing process. Silicon dioxide as been used since the 1960s, but now a material called hafnium will be used, since it is much more stable as regards temperature fluctuations which occur as such small scales.


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At 7:43 PM, Anonymous w0lph said...


Is not tech wonderful? It is truly fascinating how something like a material alternation affects the perception of those who of us who like to preach the gospel of some new, wonderful computational machine (i.e. Quantum, Biological, etc). I am beginning to believe that it is not that these new technologies will somehow magically replace something like a transistor-based processor, but that they will be confined (for a long time) to academic research. Practicality seems to be the order of the day. Would you not agree that a tech like quantum is akin to bio-fuel: almost there, but not quite?

I wonder: will hafnium break Moore's law? and how far can they push this new material?

At 2:15 PM, Blogger Taylor Caraway said...

Ok, so what do we invest in so we'll be rich in just a few years?

At 10:18 AM, Anonymous Pythagoras said...

I'm curious as to the mathematical model you used to predict the size of a chip and number of transistors on it? Did you use a linear model, quadratic, or maybe exponential?


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