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Intel showcases first 22nm chips and discusses future die shrink plans

Intel showcases first 22nm chips and discusses future die shrink plans

Much talk has happened this week about the future Arrandale and Clarkdale mobile processors. The yields are impressive and the defect density is getting better as time progresses – these will be launched as part of the 32nm Westmere family.

Intel have also delved into details regarding the production of processors using the Sandy Bridge architecture in 2010. The company loves the ‘tick-tock’ terminology as a strategy to define their alternating annual process shrinkages with new microarchitecture – and to be fair to them it has worked very well over the last few years. The Westmere die shrink for instance will be the next ‘tick’ and the Sandy Bridge will be the next ‘tock’. Once this time elapses then the new 22nm Ivy Bridge Shrink is due in 2011 then the Haswell architecture around 2012.

Intel were keen to showcase their new 22nm SRAM chips and with this process they will be able to produce four times as many chips per wafer when compared with the 45nm process making the costs lower, which will hopefully translate to the consumer (although it often doesn’t happen).

Intel are the first in the semiconductor industry to showcase working 22nm circuitry and the 22nm shuttle processor also contains logic and mixed signal transistors with phase lock loop (PLL) circuits and SRAM circuitry. This 364mbit array consists of over 2.9 billion transistors and is fabricated using Intel’s third generation of High-K/Metal Gate technology.

This is the first step in getting 22nm CPUs working and to the masses and there are currently two SRAM cell variations built to this point which include a low voltage 0.108 micron cell for use in ‘Atom’ style environments.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini has stated publically that the key to Intel’s growth will be in the SoC and embedded markets as there are literally billions of sales for these devices however they must be very competitively priced and small in scale.

Exciting times ahead for Intel and as always DriverHeaven will be here to review and report on their products.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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