Monday, 23 May 2011

3D chips may help Intel challenge ARM in mobile market

Intel's new 3D transistor technology could position the chip maker to grab a piece of a burgeoning business that it's been missing out on: the tablet market.

On May 4, Intel announced a major leap in chip technology: 3D transistors that could make PCs, smartphones and tablets faster and more power-efficient. The 3D transistors are slated to make their first appearance when Intel moves to 22-nanometer chips next year.

Instead of building traditional, flat, 2D transistors, Intel will build the new transistors upward, making it possible to squeeze in more transistors while maintaining density and a small chip size.

That means new chips using the 3D transistors, which use less than half the power of 2D transistors, will be as much as 37% faster than Intel's current 32nm chips.

The development represents a huge boost to the company's efforts to keep up with Moore's Law, Gordon Moore's 1965 prediction that the number of transistors on a chip will double about every two years.

The advancement also means that Intel may now have a shot at working its way into the lucrative tablet and smartphone markets, which have been a treasure trove for rival ARM.

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