Sunday, January 28, 2007

intel and ibm on new chip technology

jan 28th, 2007

the new intel 'breakthrough' has been hyped a lot (and ibm is claiming they have the same thing too) -- something to do with new hafnium-based processes to improve the insulation and thus reduce the leakage current and thus heat generation.

intel has always had an edge in the chip design and the *process* such as CMOS, HMOS, etc. and have not been that good at the actual manufacturing activity.

any comments by anyone on these new developments?,1895,2088078,00.asp

i own intel stock and am hoping this will push it up. i missed out on buying some texas instruments stock, and it has done rather well recently.


habc said...

OT - awesome article in German magazine

This essay is an excerpt of Henryk M. Broder's book "Hurra, Wir Kapitulieren," ("Hurray! We're Capitulating") published by Wolf Jobst Siedler Verlag in 2006. The book spent a number of weeks atop the DER SPIEGEL bestseller list.

"Hurray! We're Capitulating!"

The mullahs are playing with fire.

scudzz said...


Based on my understanding, it is Hafnium oxide, which raised lot of interest in the research community couple of years back.
Watch out, the next new thing could be a magnesium based one!

DarkStorm said...


First of all, it is not a breakthrough in the true sense, but it is a significant development. The significant part is the use of Hafnium to stop leakage when the wires etched on the silicon get too thin.
Other than that, the new chip design has 45-nm process, rather than the current Core 2 Duo 65 nm process. An expected progress, going by Moore's Law.

In fact, Intel coming up with Core 2 Duo was a much more significant event. It signalled the end of the way processors were designed and manufactured.

>>and have not been that good at the actual manufacturing activity.

Yeah, I have noted that too. I dont know if these are design faults or manufacturing faults, but many of Intels processors have turned out to be buggy. Like the initial versions of Pentium 4 Prescott core (3 Ghz and above, Netburst architectures).
But still , overall, Intel and AMD both have equivalent quality levels. AMD has improved a lot in the past 2 years, but I think they somehow have slowed down on the innovation, and are pricing really badly.

Eg. Core 2 Duo is much cheaper than AMD FX series processors (the equivalent of Intel's extreme editions) and beats them comprehensively.

But in the mainstream dual core segment, AMD is cheaper, but Core 2 Duo performs slightly better.

Rajeev, any thoughts on this -
Intel and Microsoft arent so close together now. I mean, Microsoft now builds its software keeping AMD processors in mind. Is Intel facing any problems with that?

san said...

The latest announcement isn't so much of a breakthrough as merely the latest overcoming of a barrier to shrinking the fabrication process further down to 45nm.

AMD and IBM's joint effort is only about 6 months behind Intel in going to production. AMD's quad-core processor (single-die) is showing in early tests to be significantly faster than Intel's already-released "clovertown" quad-core, which is actually just a couple of dual-core dies glued together.

But Intel appears to be ahead in process shrinkage technology, and they also plan to redesign their bus, which is currently inferior to AMD's hypertransport bus (bought from DEC).

DarkStorm said...


I did not know that - AMD and IBM are in a joint effort. Good.

BTW, i think its Intel strategy to come up with something now, and later improve. Like they have just fused two dual cores to give a quad core. They did the same thing with Pentium 4 dual cores (pentium D), before coming up with the Core 2 Duo.

AMD has become quite secretive. While Intel advertizes its roadmaps confidently, AMD does not reveal its roadmaps so often. They seem to be working silently in the background, and just dont let people know what they are going to come up with. I think they are losing customers that way. Like, I can wait two months more, for a processor from AMD if its better. But if I dont know what AMD is going to do next, I will go for the best cpu in the market, and it might be Intel.