Intel has deployed a fundamentally different technology for future microprocessor families: 3-D transistors manufactured at 22nm. These new transistors enable Intel to continue to relentlessly pursue Moore's Law and to ensure that the pace of technology advancement consumers expect, can continue for years to come.
Previously, transistors, the core of microprocessors, were 2-D (planar) devices. Intel's 3-D Tri-Gate transistor, and the ability to manufacture it in high volume, mark a dramatic change in the fundamental structure of the computer chip. Learn more about the history of transistors.
This also means Intel can continue to lead in powering products, from the world's fastest supercomputers to very small mobile handhelds.
Transistor size and structure are at the very center of delivering the benefits of Moore's Law to the end user. The smaller and more power efficient the transistor, the better. Intel continues to predictably shrink its manufacturing technology in a series of "world firsts": 45nm with high-k/metal gate in 2007; 32nm in 2009; and now 22nm with the world's first 3-D transistor in a high volume logic process beginning in 2011.
With a smaller, 3-D transistor, Intel can design even more powerful processors with incredible power efficiency. The new technology enables innovative microarchitectures, System on Chip (SoC) designs, and new products–from servers and PCs to smart phones, and innovative consumer products.
Intel's 3-D Tri-Gate transistor uses three gates wrapped around the silicon channel in a 3-D structure, enabling an unprecedented combination of performance and energy efficiency. Intel designed the new transistor to provide unique ultra-low power benefits for use in handheld devices, like smart phones and tablets, while also delivering improved performance normally expected for high-end processors.
The new transistors are so impressively efficient at low voltages they allow the Intel® Atom™ processor design team to innovate new architectural approaches for 22nm Intel® Atom™ microarchitecture. The new design specifically maximizes the benefit of the extremely low-power 3-D Tri-Gate transistor technology. And, Intel's future SoC products based on the 22nm 3-D Tri-Gate transistors will hit sub 1 mW idle power—for incredibly low-power SoCs.
Introduced at the end of 2011, the 3rd generation Intel® Core™ processor was the first high-volume chip to use 3-D transistors.
As Intel continues its product leadership for servers, PCs, laptops, and handheld devices with 22nm 3-D transistor technology, consumers and businesses should expect faster computing and graphics, and longer battery life in a variety of sleek form factors.