Intel unveils first chips using a major tech advance

Intel unveils first chips using a major tech advance

Intel Corp. on Monday rolled out microprocessors made with new materials and nearly twice as many transistors as today’s chips—innovations the company says will dramatically increase computing performance and boost applications such as high-definition video over the Internet. Intel’s new Penryn chips represent the biggest advancements in microprocessor manufacturing in 40 years, according to Intel co-founder Gordon Moore.

The chips, the first made commercially using 45-nanometre technology, also substantially extend Intel’s technological lead over competitor Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD), which has much of its operations in Austin, Texas.

The term 45-nanometre refers to the tiniest features etched onto the chip’s transistors, internal connecting lines that are only 45 billionths of a metre long.

AMD has said it is moving towards 45-nanometre technology, too, but hasn’t given details on its production plans. In a speech at a technology conference here on Monday, AMD CEO Hector Ruiz didn’t mention Intel’s announcement or AMD’s 45-nanometre plans, instead focusing on his company’s past accomplishments.

“Intel has got a very solid lead of at least a half a year or even a year" over AMD and other competitors, said Richard Doherty, an analyst with technology research firm Envisioneering Group. “I don’t know of anybody who can even produce a quarter of (Intel’s 45-nanometre production) any time soon."

Intel is making the new chips at factories in Arizona and Oregon.