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Intel chip breakthrough a boon for mobile gadgets

by Staff Writers
San Francisco (AFP) May 4, 2011
Intel on Wednesday proclaimed a significant chip breakthrough that should result in packing more power into mobile devices while safeguarding precious battery life.

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.

"Intel's scientists and engineers have once again reinvented the transistor, this time utilizing the third dimension," said Intel chief executive Paul Otellini.

"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.

The trend has held true for a half-century and has been at the heart of a mobile lifestyle in which smartphones, tablet computers and other gadgets grow in power while shrinking in size.

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," said Intel senior fellow Mark Bohr.

"The low-voltage and low-power benefits far exceed what we typically see from one process generation to the next," he continued.

"It will give product designers the flexibility to make current devices smarter and wholly new ones possible."

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