The future of Intel's manufacturing processesby Anand Lal Shimpi on December 11, 2000 1:23 AM EST
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Facts from Intel
In closing, we’d like to leave you with a set of 9 interesting facts Intel supplied us with regarding the processors and their transistors we will be intimately familiar with by 2005. Enjoy:
1. The transistors are 0.03 microns wide and some of their structures are about 3 atomic layers thick. The transistors are so small that a vertical pile of 30 million transistor gates would measure 1 inch high (12 million for a centimeter) and a stack of more than 100,000 would equal the thickness of a sheet of paper.
2. These Transistors can turn on and off 10 billion times per second
3. These transistors will be built into Intel processors that are nearly 10 times more complex than the Intel® Pentium® 4 processor, today's most advanced processor. For example, the future processors will have 400 million or more transistors, will run at 10 GHz and operate at less than 1 volt. Today’s Pentium 4 processor has 42 million transistors, runs at 1.5 GHz and operates at 1.7 volts.
4. Faster than a speeding bullet: A 10GHz processor will be able to complete 20 million calculations in the time a speeding bullet travels 1 foot, or 2 million calculations in the time it travels 1 inch.
5. A 10GHz processor is faster than the blink of an eye. In the times it takes you to blink (1/50th of a second or so), the processor can complete about 400 million calculations
6. Imagine putting 400 million parts on a chip the size of your finger nail. Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium, one of the world’s largest athletic stadiums, could only contain an estimated 200,000 spectators for the largest crowd ever gathered for a football (soccer) game.
7. At 1 volt or less, these future processors will consume significantly less power than today’s processors. Thus, they could be easily used in battery-operated devices such as laptop computers and handheld devices. As a comparison, today’s Pentium 4 processor operates at 1.7 volts. (AnandTech Note: obviously this one is stretching it a bit since we know that voltage isn’t the only thing that matters when it comes to portable devices)
8. These transistors will begin appearing in products manufactured using 0.07-micron (70 nanometer) technology, which is three manufacturing processes more advanced than Intel's current 0.18 micron technology. To put this in perspective, today's 0.18-micron technology is two manufacturing processes more advanced that the 0.35 micron technology used when the Pentium processor was introduced in 1993. The Pentium® processor had 3.1 million transistors, ran at 66 MHz and operated at 5 volts.
9. The 0.07 micron (70 nanometer) technology will rely on Extreme Ultra Violet (EUV) lithography, the next generation lithography technology, for printing the narrowest lines. This will be combined with 157nm lithography to enable manufacturers to continue producing smaller and faster processors. Lithography is the process in which circuits -- the pathway through which electrical current flows -- are printed on silicon wafers. EUV will allow semiconductor manufacturers to print ever-smaller features on a wafer. The difference between features drawn by EUV and Deep Ultra-Violet (DUV) lithography, today’s most advanced method, is similar to drawing two lines of equal width and quality on a piece of paper, but using a fat-tipped marker to draw one line and a fine-tipped marker for the other.