Saturday, January 27

Intel announces replacement for Silicon Dioxide

Betanews reports that Intel has announced that they are going to change the material used in the transistors on their semiconductors, as they move to a 45nm process.

The new materials are a hafnium based gate oxide (replacing the SiO2) and a metal gate (alloy undisclosed, replacing polysilicon).

They are planning on releasing CPU's using this new process in the second half of 2007, with higher clock speeds and similar thermal characteristics to the current Core 2 Duo processors.

"For Penryn, we're going to deliver some micro-architectural features that will improve performance, and separate from that and orthogonal to that, we're going to deliver some clock rate improvements," Intel's Smith told reporters. "You can expect some frequency increase within the same thermal envelopes; we know that is possible, and that's our plan for these."

Smith also confirmed that the new Penryn series will implement the long-anticipated fourth set of Streaming SIMD extensions to its instruction set - its next generation of single-instruction, multiple-data instructions that have steadily improved Intel CPUs' capability to manage multimedia and streaming data. "We already see those running in our lab successfully," he stated, "and what we're seeing is excellent, multiple-double-digit performance gains on media-type applications. So we're seeing the result we expected there from SSE4 in our initial evaluations."

On power consumtion, Jim McGregor says (from the same article):

"As we've seen, more miniaturized components should require less power to operate, as the Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad series have clearly demonstrated. But at layer thicknesses of just one or two molecules, conventional materials behave differently, leaking current and thus using more power. HK+MG solves Intel's problem today, In-Stat's Jim McGregor believes, but it might crop up again later."

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