“Intel and IBM each separately announced competing developments Friday described as the biggest advances in semiconductor chip making in over 40 years,” Therese Poletti reports for The San Jose Mercury News.

“Using new materials and a new manufacturing process, the two companies announced advances that would increase the speed and power of chips for another decade,” Poletti reports. “But Intel of Santa Clara is apparently much farther along, saying it will launch new chips for computers, laptops and servers before the end of the year based on the advances.”

Poletti reports, “One of the most important features is that the faster chips will also consumer much less power, an epidemic problem for some companies in the industry. ‘It’s a real breakthrough … for both of them,’ said Rick Doherty, research director of The Envisioneering Group in Seaford, N.Y. ‘I wouldn’t be surprised if members of these teams were up for the Nobel prize.'”

“Intel said that the development will ensure that Moore’s Law will thrive well into the next decade. Moore’s Law is the name given to a prediction by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, who said in the 1960s that the number of transistors on a chip would double every two years. That prediction has proved to be an industry benchmark that has paved the way for faster, cheaper and more reliable computers, cell phones and other consumer electronics,” Poletti reports.

Poletti reports, “Moore, 78, came out of retirement, where he spends some of his time in Hawaii, to issue a statement Friday about the Intel team’s innovation. He said Intel’s use of high-k and metal materials ‘marks the biggest change in transistor technology’ since Intel’s pioneering use of polysilicon in 1969.”

“Intel said its new family of chips, code-named Penryn, will have 410 million transistors, using the new materials combined with the 45-nanometer technology manufacturing process. This compares with about 280 million in current chips. Intel also said electrical leakage will be reduced by a factor of about 30 percent,” Poletti reports.

“Yoshio Nishi, a professor of electrical engineering at Stanford University, said IBM’s advance as still in the research phase,” Poletti reports.

Full article here.

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