Intel proclaimed a significant chip breakthrough that should result in packing more power. Intel said that its new “3-D transistors”, called Tri-Gate, are “a major technical breakthrough” that may continue to fuel the high pace of microprocessor development into the near future. The US chip giant said that for the first time since the silicon transistor was invented more than 50 years ago it has found a way to mass produce them in three dimensions instead of only two. Intel’s “revolutionary” Tri-Gate transistor is built upward instead of only out to the sides on par with the way a skyscraper has more capacity than a cluster of houses. The Tri-Gate transistors will enable chips to operate at lower voltage with lower leakage. Compared to Intel’s 32nm flat or planar transistors, the Ivy Bridge uses half the power while giving a 37 percent boost in performance, a combination of advantages that makes the new transistor ideal for small, hand-held devices.
Already, Intel said that its Intel 3D Tri-Gate transistors technology will be used in its “Ivy Bridge” 22nm microprocessor. Intel’s scientists and engineers have once again reinvented the transistor, this time utilizing the third dimension. The Tri-Gate chip, first disclosed by Intel in 2002, is manufactured at the 22-nanometer node. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. The performance gains and power savings of Intel’s unique 3-D Tri-Gate transistors are like nothing we’ve seen before.
Intel said that the Ivy Bridge chip creates the “unprecedented combination of performance improvement and power reduction to enable new innovations across a range of future 22nm-based devices from the smallest handhelds to powerful cloud-based servers.” Ivy Bridge-based Intel Core family processors will be the first high-volume chips to use 3-D Tri-Gate transistors.
Amazing, world-shaping devices will be created from this capability as we advance Moore’s Law into new realms. Moore’s Law is a principle that the number of transistors that can be placed economically on a chip doubles every two years. It will give product designers the flexibility to make current devices smarter and wholly new ones possible. Intel wants to be ready for high-volume production of the new transistor by the end of this year.