Domain Manage

Much faster computers on there way 2008

Discussion in 'General Board' started by domaingenius, Jan 29, 2007.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. domaingenius

    domaingenius Well-Known Member

    Dec 2004
    Likes Received:
    Computers ready to break speed limit in Hafnium Valley

    Hafnium, a metal used in the manufacture of nuclear reactors, could soon replace silicon in the technology lexicon following claims that it will revolutionise computer-chip technology.

    Competing breakthroughs announced over the weekend by Intel and IBM, two of the biggest names in the industry, should enable the speed and power of computer chips to keep accelerating for at least the next decade.

    The development, described by Intel as “the biggest change to computer chips in 40 years”, will not only push personal computers and laptop speeds to unprecedented levels, but it should also allow people to do more on their mobile phones.

    Intel, the world’s biggest chip maker, said that the density of transistors on a chip could be doubled, making computers faster and reducing the cost of powering transistors by almost a third. “Ten years ago, many of us wondered if we’d ever get to this point,” Mark Bohr, senior fellow in Intel’s research department, said. “Not only have we gotten to the point, but it probably didn’t take us quite as long as we thought it would.”

    Hours after Intel’s announcement, IBM rushed out a statement claiming that it, too, was working on new technology based on hafnium. It said that it was collaborating with Advanced Micro Devices, Intel’s main chip-making rival, and would start using it in computers next year. T.C. Chen, the vice-president of science and technology at IBM Research, said: “Until now the chip industry was facing a major roadblock in terms of how far we could push current technology. We now have a way forward.”

    Intel, which looks set to steal a march on IBM by starting manufacture in the second half of this year, appears to have overcome a potentially devastating technical barrier arising from the pursuit of ever smaller transistors: their tendency to leak as the insulating material gets thinner.

    The number of transistors on a chip has been roughly doubling every two years, making it more and more difficult for the thin silicon dioxide insulators to stop leakage of electric current. This, in turn, leads to a shortened battery life.

    Although leakage can be reduced by thickening the insulators, it also reduces the electric charge passing through, thus hindering performance. Hafnium-based insulators are said to solve this conundrum as they allow the insulation to be thickened without impeding performance. The metal will also be used to make the so-called gate that turns the transistor on and off.

    The resultant combination of processing power and energy efficiency could make it possible for mobile-phone users to watch video footage at length. At the moment the resultant drain on the battery limits people to watching short clips.

    Intel said that the revolutionary technology would be used on its new generation of 45nanometer transistors, which it claims are so small that 400 could fit on the surface of a single human red blood cell. A decade ago the industry was preening itself after developing 250 nanometer technology.

    Hafnium Valley may not have quite the same ring, but the metal may be Silicon Valley’s best hope of maintaining the pace of technological progress that the human race has come to expect. 1958 The first Integrated Circuit (IC) was invented by Jack S. Kilby, working for Texas Instruments

    Bit by bit

    1959 Fairchild Semiconductor invented the modern silicon diffusing process, or planar process, which is still used 1967 The development process moved over into computer aided design after the IC process evolved

    1972 The term “microprocessor” was first used

    1974 The Intel 8080 chip was created. It had 4,500 transistors and could address 64K bytes of memory. It became the industry standard

    1978 Intel produced its first 16-bit processor, the 8086

    1979 Inmos was formed by the Government to produce innovative silicon-based products competing on the world stage. The formation was partly in response to the increasing dominance of the market by the US

    1980s Although initially designed for a calculator, the microprocessor found its way into a multitude of designs from cars to computers, televisions to telephones
  2. Domain Forum

    Acorn Domains Elite Member

    Likes Received:
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page