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The all-new computer chip by Intel

The all-new computer chip by Intel
NYT
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First Published: Tue, Jan 30 2007. 03 39 PM IST
Updated: Tue, Jan 30 2007. 03 39 PM IST
A smaller, faster, more energy-efficient computer chip being revealed by Intel Corp. almost certainly will be produced at the company's $3 billion fabrication plant under construction in Chandler.Intel says the new chip is a result of the biggest breakthrough in transistor technology in 40 years.Dawn Jones, a spokeswoman for Intel, could not say where the chips would be made. But she said that the Chandler plant would have the capability to produce them and that the product launch, in the second half of this year, will coincide with the facility's opening.The chips, to be used in the company's new "Penryn" microprocessors, will be produced at Intel facilities throughout the world. But the new plant, called Fab 32, will allow Chandler to remain a key site for the company's manufacturing operations.Intel Corp, the world’s largest semiconductor maker, said it made a breakthrough in transistor technology that allows it to make faster, smaller, more efficient processors.The company demonstrated working models of new chips, which are made up of transistors that use metal gates rather than silicon dioxide, at an event at the company’s headquarters in Santa Clara, California on January 25.Intel is altering the fundamentals of its chips in response to changing requirements in the personal computer industry. Older designs such as the Pentium resulted in chips that, while they counted quickly, required too much cooling to allow them to be used in laptops.Transistors are microscopic electronic switches which, by being switched on and off, represent the Os or 1s that are the building block of all digital information. The silicon dioxide or now metal gate is used to turn them on and off.Intel and other chipmakers have been using silicon dioxide as gates since the late 1960s. The material is reaching its physical limits.Current silicon dioxide gates are as thin as five atoms, a thickness that causes leakage-the flow of electricity even when the transistor is turned off.
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First Published: Tue, Jan 30 2007. 03 39 PM IST
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