I recently caught wind of what could be the most important announcement in the technology world this year. And somehow it almost slipped by me unnoticed. Intel has recently announced its plans to move to a 22nm manufacturing process using its new 3D Tri-Gate transistors.
WHAT THE HECK DOES THAT MEAN?
It means a couple of things. First, efficiencies are always to be had with a die shrink. We have seen this with all major die shrinks in the past – smaller parts generate less heat and therefore allow higher clock speeds using less energy.
The part we really need to be interested in is this whole 3D Tri-Gate business. I’m no scientist, but I have found a few good articles that boil down the main points. According to AnandTech.com, this new transistor technology has massive potential for increasing CPU efficiency. When combined with the 22nm die shrink, Intel claims >50% power reduction if performance levels are kept similar to current chips.
This advent is likely to have profound results for all CPU markets. Intel has struggled with its Atom chip in the mobile market because it consumes too much power. With this new technology, Intel is better positioning itself to compete with ARM and AMD in the mobile chip market.
In addition, with such huge power savings, Intel can either begin manufacturing more power efficient server chips, or it can leverage those savings to increase clock speeds significantly. In doing so, they will likely pass the 4GHz mark. If I were a gambling man, I’d bet that Intel will repeat history and push for the highest clocked, fastest chips it can.
Get ready. When Ivy Bridge chips hit the market, Intel is likely to give most of its competition a serious run for its money (and, if Intel has anything, they have money). My next post will be about what this news could mean for Intel’s competitors and why I’m hoping they have some tricks up their sleeves.