Wednesday, May 4th 2011

Intel Reinvents Transistors Using New 3-D Structure

Intel Corporation today announced a significant breakthrough in the evolution of the transistor, the microscopic building block of modern electronics. For the first time since the invention of silicon transistors over 50 years ago, transistors using a three-dimensional structure will be put into high-volume manufacturing. Intel will introduce a revolutionary 3-D transistor design called Tri-Gate, first disclosed by Intel in 2002, into high-volume manufacturing at the 22-nanometer (nm) node in an Intel chip codenamed "Ivy Bridge." A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter.

The three-dimensional Tri-Gate transistors represent a fundamental departure from the two-dimensional planar transistor structure that has powered not only all computers, mobile phones and consumer electronics to-date, but also the electronic controls within cars, spacecraft, household appliances, medical devices and virtually thousands of other everyday devices for decades.

"Intel's scientists and engineers have once again reinvented the transistor, this time utilizing the third dimension," said Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini. "Amazing, world-shaping devices will be created from this capability as we advance Moore's Law into new realms."

Scientists have long recognized the benefits of a 3-D structure for sustaining the pace of Moore's Law as device dimensions become so small that physical laws become barriers to advancement. The key to today's breakthrough is Intel's ability to deploy its novel 3-D Tri-Gate transistor design into high-volume manufacturing, ushering in the next era of Moore's Law and opening the door to a new generation of innovations across a broad spectrum of devices.

Moore's Law is a forecast for the pace of silicon technology development that states that roughly every 2 years transistor density will double, while increasing functionality and performance and decreasing costs. It has become the basic business model for the semiconductor industry for more than 40 years.

Unprecedented Power Savings and Performance Gains
Intel's 3-D Tri-Gate transistors enable chips to operate at lower voltage with lower leakage, providing an unprecedented combination of improved performance and energy efficiency compared to previous state-of-the-art transistors. The capabilities give chip designers the flexibility to choose transistors targeted for low power or high performance, depending on the application.

The 22nm 3-D Tri-Gate transistors provide up to 37 percent performance increase at low voltage versus Intel's 32nm planar transistors. This incredible gain means that they are ideal for use in small handheld devices, which operate using less energy to "switch" back and forth. Alternatively, the new transistors consume less than half the power when at the same performance as 2-D planar transistors on 32nm chips.

"The performance gains and power savings of Intel's unique 3-D Tri-Gate transistors are like nothing we've seen before," said Mark Bohr, Intel Senior Fellow. "This milestone is going further than simply keeping up with Moore's Law. The low-voltage and low-power benefits far exceed what we typically see from one process generation to the next. It will give product designers the flexibility to make current devices smarter and wholly new ones possible. We believe this breakthrough will extend Intel's lead even further over the rest of the semiconductor industry."

Continuing the Pace of Innovation – Moore's Law
Transistors continue to get smaller, cheaper and more energy efficient in accordance with Moore's Law – named for Intel co-founder Gordon Moore. Because of this, Intel has been able to innovate and integrate, adding more features and computing cores to each chip, increasing performance, and decreasing manufacturing cost per transistor.

Sustaining the progress of Moore's Law becomes even more complex with the 22nm generation. Anticipating this, Intel research scientists in 2002 invented what they called a Tri-Gate transistor, named for the three sides of the gate. Today's announcement follows further years of development in Intel's highly coordinated research-development-manufacturing pipeline, and marks the implementation of this work for high-volume manufacturing.

The 3-D Tri-Gate transistors are a reinvention of the transistor. The traditional "flat" two-dimensional planar gate is replaced with an incredibly thin three-dimensional silicon fin that rises up vertically from the silicon substrate. Control of current is accomplished by implementing a gate on each of the three sides of the fin – two on each side and one across the top -- rather than just one on top, as is the case with the 2-D planar transistor. The additional control enables as much transistor current flowing as possible when the transistor is in the "on" state (for performance), and as close to zero as possible when it is in the "off" state (to minimize power), and enables the transistor to switch very quickly between the two states (again, for performance).

Just as skyscrapers let urban planners optimize available space by building upward, Intel's 3-D Tri-Gate transistor structure provides a way to manage density. Since these fins are vertical in nature, transistors can be packed closer together, a critical component to the technological and economic benefits of Moore's Law. For future generations, designers also have the ability to continue growing the height of the fins to get even more performance and energy-efficiency gains.

"For years we have seen limits to how small transistors can get," said Moore. "This change in the basic structure is a truly revolutionary approach, and one that should allow Moore's Law, and the historic pace of innovation, to continue."

World's First Demonstration of 22nm 3-D Tri-Gate Transistors
The 3-D Tri-Gate transistor will be implemented in the company's upcoming manufacturing process, called the 22nm node, in reference to the size of individual transistor features. More than 6 million 22nm Tri-Gate transistors could fit in the period at the end of this sentence.

Today, Intel demonstrated the world's first 22nm microprocessor, codenamed "Ivy Bridge," working in a laptop, server and desktop computer. Ivy Bridge-based Intel Core family processors will be the first high-volume chips to use 3-D Tri-Gate transistors. Ivy Bridge is slated for high-volume production readiness by the end of this year.



This silicon technology breakthrough will also aid in the delivery of more highly integrated Intel Atom processor-based products that scale the performance, functionality and software compatibility of Intel architecture while meeting the overall power, cost and size requirements for a range of market segment needs.
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106 Comments on Intel Reinvents Transistors Using New 3-D Structure

#1
mk_ln
by: 20mmrain
Well cya later AMD.... Like I said before Intel is not the Microsoft of the Computing world. Cheaper to make sure.... but prices will now sore in terms of no competition.

But really cool tech though.... that will be awesome to be able to overclock a CPU to 5 or 6 ghz on air hit only 45c/50c and and also be only drawing 80 watts.

This should definitely be fun... as long as they don't take the OC option away in the future.

Of course I am totally making up numbers here.... but it's were my head first goes.
by: 20mmrain
I would agree as long as they don't rape you for the cost. I mean their hole point is to make it more efficient and cheaper! If it's cheaper then it should cost an arm and a leg either.

Also as long as they don't try to play god with it and take all the fun out of messing with this technology. Example lock the multiplier too.
just a friendly fyi - the bolded words should've been 'soar' and 'whole', respectively. :)
Posted on Reply
#2
lilhasselhoffer
Yay; this is a puff piece about technologies and how they perform in the lab...

Now that I've given people time to think, consider this:
1) The PS3 with 9 cores will be the most powerful processor on the market for years to come. -Sony
2) The speeds I get (at best) on my 10/100/1000 network are probably in the high 800s. Theoretical and practical are two completely different things.
3) Less losses mean less heat. 3d means less surface area per heat generating volume. Yes heat will decrease, but removing heat from the transistors at the bottom middle of a chip will become much more difficult.
4) PRESS RELEASE. They are carefully worded and optimistic. While I would like to believe in Unicorns and world peace I know that there is something fishy if the Onion reports on them...
5) What did Intel really suggest, high overclocking or low energy performance; I would posit that they are pushing more for low energy performance given AMD is actually competing with their APUs.

Negativity aside, I hope this works out. Intel moving this far ahead will force AMD to compete in other ways. I would love to see them give Intel a boot in the head, because AMD found an entirely new way to optimize their processors. The bulldozer is a step towards something unique, and I think Intel's PR might actually push AMD faster. Only time will tell on both sides. It will be an interesting 2012.
Posted on Reply
#3
lilhasselhoffer
by: sy5tem
i read somewhere that there is a PHYSIC limit on how much mhz they can get ,,, can't remember exactly but the current can't go any faster then X .... lol no Jugahurtz for you in your lifetime sowy!
Wow; I'd say that you really know about sarcasm, but I would be afraid that you wouldn't get the joke.

The comment was obviously hyperbole, and not an actual request. I say this completely disregarding that juga isn't a prefix and hurtz is not a unit.


Depending upon the semi-conductor, materials will start to breakdown at extremely high frequencies. Transistor breakdown limits overclocking, but there is research into pushing that limit higher. Realistically, the limiting factor in your PC is heat induced by leakage. High heating promotes thermal breakdown, which also destroys transistors. You should, theoretically, be able to push a processor that runs cooler to higher frequencies. If you've done even cursory reasearch into over clocking you would find even a layman understands this.

Physics does not determine this. Material properties determine this. If you want to use the caps lock have a good reason. You will find that older processors (think Pentium 4) do not over clock well. This is because they have higher leakages-> higher heat-> transistor breakdown. The same material was used on early core 2 processors (switching to hi-k later on), but they overclocked better because of structural differences and less leakage.
Posted on Reply
#4
D4S4
i only wonder what changes will this bring to overclocking...
Posted on Reply
#5
Frick
Fishfaced Nincompoop
by: lilhasselhoffer
Yay; this is a puff piece about technologies and how they perform in the lab...

Now that I've given people time to think, consider this:
1) The PS3 with 9 cores will be the most powerful processor on the market for years to come. -Sony
2) The speeds I get (at best) on my 10/100/1000 network are probably in the high 800s. Theoretical and practical are two completely different things.
3) Less losses mean less heat. 3d means less surface area per heat generating volume. Yes heat will decrease, but removing heat from the transistors at the bottom middle of a chip will become much more difficult.
4) PRESS RELEASE. They are carefully worded and optimistic. While I would like to believe in Unicorns and world peace I know that there is something fishy if the Onion reports on them...
5) What did Intel really suggest, high overclocking or low energy performance; I would posit that they are pushing more for low energy performance given AMD is actually competing with their APUs.

Negativity aside, I hope this works out. Intel moving this far ahead will force AMD to compete in other ways. I would love to see them give Intel a boot in the head, because AMD found an entirely new way to optimize their processors. The bulldozer is a step towards something unique, and I think Intel's PR might actually push AMD faster. Only time will tell on both sides. It will be an interesting 2012.
I hear ya, but it is a step in the right direction. Lots of folks have been working on designs like this for some years now and from my understanding Intel is simply first with it in mass production. I'm confident it will be a bit of a game changer, but how much is still unsure.
Posted on Reply
#6
15th Warlock
by: sy5tem
well intel invented something all over again . so when AMD did that? i can't remember :P
How about the first available 1Ghz desktop processor and the first available desktop 64 bit processor?

Those two just out of my head now, but I'm sure there's more innovative ideas to be mentioned, I'm an Intel user but you have to give credit where it's due :)

Now this is truly revolutionary, Ivy Bridge will be compatible with P67 boards so looks like another hit yet for Intel.

Now if only they can produce the 3D water cooled processor IBM was just developing a few years ago it would be awesome!
Posted on Reply
#7
TheMailMan78
Big Member
You guys better hope AMD destroys Sandy if you ever dream of affording this thing.
Posted on Reply
#8
15th Warlock
by: TheMailMan78
You guys better hope AMD destroys Sandy if you ever dream of affording this thing.
I'm pretty sure this technology will trickle down to all Intel next gen CPUs, I mean, 22nm is the next node all their processors will be fabed at, so I expect this process to be used on everything from entry level to high performance CPUs.
Posted on Reply
#9
trickson
OH, I have such a headache
by: TheMailMan78
You guys better hope AMD destroys Sandy if you ever dream of affording this thing.
I have to keep my mouth shut :banghead:
Posted on Reply
#10
TheMailMan78
Big Member
by: 15th Warlock
I'm pretty sure this technology will trickle down to all Intel next gen CPUs, I mean, 22nm is the next node all their processors will be fabed at, so I expect this process to be used on everything from entry level to high performance CPUs.
Again not if AMD is running on old tech. Intel will reign supreme and we will pay for it.
Posted on Reply
#11
Easy Rhino
Linux Advocate
AMD is no match for the R&D department at Intel. AMD unfortunately will always be two steps behind.
Posted on Reply
#12
trickson
OH, I have such a headache
by: TheMailMan78
Again not if AMD is running on old tech. Intel will reign supreme and we will pay for it.
Not likely . Intel will keep costs low as to keep you from going with the cheaper line of the comp . It is not like they will cut there heads off despite there face . I do not see this as bad I do see this as moving forward in a positive way . If AMD fails to keep up what is Intel to do ? Stop making new and improved things while AMD tries to keep up ? You did not see this when AMD was killing Intel during the P4 days .
But hey I have to keep my mouth SHUT . :banghead:

by: Easy Rhino
AMD is no match for the R&D department at Intel. AMD unfortunately will always be two steps behind.
Funny AMD bought out ATI and have a real lead in the video department maybe they need to reallocate some of them funds to the R&D of there CPU's ???
Posted on Reply
#14
TheMailMan78
Big Member
by: trickson
Not likely . Intel will keep costs low as to keep you from going with the cheaper line of the comp . It is not like they will cut there heads off despite there face . I do not see this as bad I do see this as moving forward in a positive way . If AMD fails to keep up what is Intel to do ? Stop making new and improved things while AMD tries to keep up ? You did not see this when AMD was killing Intel during the P4 days .
But hey I have to keep my mouth SHUT . :banghead:
Um no. If these 3-D Structure transistors are half as fast as Intel claims them to be then AMD will not be able to keep up. Not even remotely. They will try and drop the prices to stay competitive but the performance will be night and day. Intel will price accordingly. You WILL have $1000+ cpus from Intel and AMD will fade into the GPU market.
Posted on Reply
#15
trickson
OH, I have such a headache
by: TheMailMan78
Um no. If these 3-D Structure transistors are half as fast as Intel claims them to be then AMD will not be able to keep up. Not even remotely. They will try and drop the prices to stay competitive but the performance will be night and day. Intel will price accordingly. You WILL have $1000+ cpus from Intel and AMD will fade into the GPU market.
LOL I doubt that there is no one on this planet that could afford them especially at this day and age with the economy in the toilet as it is LOL . They would have a lot of CPU's sitting on shelves and no one buying them up .
Posted on Reply
#16
TheMailMan78
Big Member
by: trickson
LOL I doubt that there is no one on this planet that could afford them especially at this day and age with the economy in the toilet as it is LOL . They would have a lot of CPU's sitting on shelves and no one buying them up .
Well its not like they didn't do it before when they had the monopoly. The market will demand it. You act as if this hasn't happen before. Competition is good.

Anyway check this out...
Intel made one its most significant technology announcements ever today by stating it will base upcoming processors on 3D transistors. So, what is a 3D transistor exactly and why is it important? Here are some answers.

What is 3D exactly?
It can get confusing very quickly because there are a few technical terms being bandied about to describe the new transistor structure. Intel calls it generically 3D but technically it's a Tri-Gate transistor (see image below). The traditional flat two-dimensional "planar" gate is replaced with a thin three-dimensional silicon fin that rises up vertically from the silicon substrate.

What's a fin?
The gate wraps around the fin (see image below). The current is controlled by using a gate on each of the three sides of the fin--two on each side and one across the top--rather than just one on top, as is the case with the 2D planar transistor. Intel's explanation here is simple and clear: "The additional control enables as much transistor current flowing as possible when the transistor is in the 'on' state (for performance), and as close to zero as possible when it is in the 'off' state (to minimize power), and enables the transistor to switch very quickly between the two states (again, for performance)."

Why is this important?
It's necessary to sustain Moore's Law--doubling the number of transistors on a silicon device every two years. As device dimensions become prohibitively small, cramming in transistors in the traditional two-dimensional fashion becomes impossible. So, 3D or vertical transistors become necessary. And Intel isn't just talking about this theoretically, it's going to manufacture chips based on these transistors.

How soon will Intel use this technology?
Intel is essentially a chip manufacturer. So when it announces a new technology it's a not pie-in-the-sky idea. Intel's next-generation "Ivy Bridge" processors (which will follow its current Sandy Bridge chips) will use this 3D transistor technology exclusively. In other words, Intel will quit making 2D transistors and move completely to 3D on Ivy Bridge. Ivy Bridge will go into commercial production at the end of this year and into large production volume in 2012.

What's the significance is 22 nanometer?
Ivy Bridge will use 22-nanometer technology versus the 32-nanometer tech currently used on Sandy Bridge. In addition to the merits of 3D transistors described above, moving to a smaller geometries generally results in faster, more power efficient processors.

Does this mean faster chips?
Of course. But also more power-efficient designs. Intel's biggest challenge going forward isn't speed but power efficiency. The 3D transistors enable chips to operate at lower voltage with lower leakage, providing both improved performance and energy efficiency compared to previous Intel chips.

Will this allow Intel to compete more effectively in the smartphone and tablet world?
That's the idea. U.K.-based ARM Holdings is Intel's new nemesis. ARM chips power most of the world's tablets and smartphones, chiefly because of their power efficiency. Intel's 22nm 3D transistors provide up to a 37 percent performance increase at low voltage versus Intel's 32nm planar transistors. "This gain means that the transistors are ideal for use in small handheld devices, which operate using less energy to 'switch' back and forth. Alternatively, the new transistors consume less than half the power when at the same performance as 2D planar transistors on 32nm chips," according to Intel.
Posted on Reply
#17
NC37
Sure this looks bad for AMD, but all I see it as is Intel trying to get more out of x86 like they always have. Personally until we get that new substance which allows 30+Ghz speeds (I know there was an article I read on here about it), the real advances should be in getting GPU tech to run more processes. We've been doing it in the scientific area. Heck NV made special servers to do it.

The point is, AMD has been advancing towards APU. While Intel's x86 tech is great, they cannot match AMD on the graphics core front. Until AMD reveals what is coming, post Bulldozer, can't declare the race finished. I wouldn't be surprised if AMD leverages it's GPU tech more and more to make up the difference.
Posted on Reply
#18
trickson
OH, I have such a headache
by: TheMailMan78
Well its not like they didn't do it before when they had the monopoly. The market will demand it. You act as if this hasn't happen before. Competition is good.
But they still do it . So what is the difference now ? I see Intel selling 1 thousand Dollar + CPU's Now . So is AMD . What they will make them so expensive that NO ONE can buy them but the rich ? I do not think so .
Posted on Reply
#19
TheMailMan78
Big Member
by: trickson
But they still do it . So what is the difference now ? I see Intel selling 1 thousand Dollar + CPU's Now . So is AMD . What they will make them so expensive that NO ONE can buy them but the rich ? I do not think so .
AMD's top desktop CPU when I bought it this current gen. was 299 bucks. Thats a 1090T. I think your confused about CPU history or even how economics work.....and no. Intel doesn't have anywhere close to the monopoly of the Pentium days.
Posted on Reply
#20
15th Warlock
by: TheMailMan78
Well its not like they didn't do it before when they had the monopoly. The market will demand it. You act as if this hasn't happen before. Competition is good.

Anyway check this out...
I don't think Intel would be so stupid, the PC market is shrinking already, what you suggest here is akin to Intel giving the coup de grace to their main source of revenue.

Yes, there was a time when CPUs were very expensive, but as stated before, these are other times, if Intel releases $1,000 only CPUs based on these process, someone else will rise to fill the gap, be it AMD or ARM (Win 8 already runs on ARM) so, no, I just don't see this doomsday scenario playing out.
Posted on Reply
#21
trickson
OH, I have such a headache
And every one starts to quickly demonize Intel while they :cry: for AMD . Who cares ? this is HOT new TECH ! I am excited for Intel and can hardly wait to see them in action ! Stop :cry: about this and get excited . Man they are telling us more than AMD . :nutkick:
Posted on Reply
#22
TheMailMan78
Big Member
by: trickson
And every one starts to quickly demonize Intel while they :cry: for AMD . Who cares ? this is HOT new TECH ! I am excited for Intel and can hardly wait to see them in action ! Stop :cry: about this and get excited . Man they are telling us more than AMD . :nutkick:
Who's demonizing? I'm being realistic and not a blind lil fanboy. I just don't wanna see any tears when Intel is a monopoly again and you can't afford their top tier CPU's. Because their will be weeping and gnashing of the teeth. And oh I will laugh. I mean you have to be an idiot to think Intel will keep the same current price point if they have no competition.
Posted on Reply
#23
CAT-THE-FIFTH
by: TheMailMan78
Who's demonizing? I'm being realistic and not a blind lil fanboy. I just don't wanna see any tears when Intel is a monopoly again and you can't afford their top tier CPU's. Because their will be weeping and gnashing of the teeth. And oh I will laugh. I mean you have to be an idiot to think Intel will keep the same price point if they have no competition.
What I find funny is that in the first posts in this thread were making digs at AMD rather than actually talking about this interesting new technology.
Posted on Reply
#24
trickson
OH, I have such a headache
by: TheMailMan78
Who's demonizing? I'm being realistic and not a blind lil fanboy. I just don't wanna see any tears when Intel is a monopoly again and you can't afford their top tier CPU's. Because their will be weeping and gnashing of the teeth. And of I will laugh.
Well then you better prey that AMD steps up the program . As it is they are doing really well in the core area just not as good in the other areas . The strong will prosper the weak will fade away into nothingness . It is a fact of life get over it . If they do sell them at a price no one can afford then they will be shooting themselves in the foot . This is not doomsday here just some great new tech to be given to the consumer . I love this it is just great !
Posted on Reply
#25
stereotype
AMD has been working with IBM on similar tech for a few years as 22nm and beyond present a lot of technical difficulties impossible to overcome with current tech...
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