Intel has introduced its latest generation of processor cores at 22 nanometers, which hit the market today. The new chips are up to 20 percent faster and consume 20 percent less energy, but the biggest news for Intel is that these chips are the first that will use its new 3-D transistor technology. Last May Intel announced that it would implement a new type of transistor that is built by layering features in a vertical rather than horizontal fashion as a way to keep Moore’s Law moving forward.
So, as part of the launch of 13 chips (part of the Ivy Bridge line) Intel’s PC business chief, Kirk Skaugen, is showing off this new way to manufacture chips that was 11 years in the making. Intel isn’t the only firm out there to keep pushing the boundaries of performance on chips without sacrificing power, but it’s the first out of the gate by putting its 3-D transistors into production. Startup SuVolta, and an industry consortium pushing a different type of 3-D transistor are also working to giver devices more performance and a longer battery life.
Intel plans to incorporate 14nm transistors by 2013 and 10nm by 2015. So as Intel’s race with ARM-based chipmakers in the mobile space heats up, it’s not lying down. It is both boosting the manufacturing chops it needs to keep up with performance and power demands and continuing to create chips for a wide variety of products ranging from servers to mobile phones. As the computing worlds gets more heterogeneous, Intel’s trying to capitalize on the skills it learned building chips designed for the x86 ecosystem and taking the x86 cores as far as they will go. Who knows if it will be far enough, but the deep research required here is pretty impressive.