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Intel Makes 22nm 3-D Tri-Gate Tech for Ivy Bridge

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 97 comments

Moore's Law continues.

Intel Corporation today announced transistors using a three-dimensional structure will be put into high-volume manufacturing. Intel introduced a revolutionary 3-D transistor design called Tri-Gate, first disclosed by Intel in 2002, into high-volume manufacturing at the 22-nanometer node in Ivy Bridge.

The company qualified 3-D Tri-Gate transistors as a reinvention of the transistor. The traditional "flat" two-dimensional planar gate is replaced with an incredibly thin three-dimensional silicon fin that rises up vertically from the silicon substrate. Control of current is accomplished by implementing a gate on each of the three sides of the fin – two on each side and one across the top – rather than just one on top, as is the case with the 2-D planar transistor. The additional control enables as much transistor current flowing as possible when the transistor is in the "on" state (for performance), and as close to zero as possible when it is in the "off" state (to minimize power), and enables the transistor to switch very quickly between the two states (again, for performance).

Check out this video below for a visual aid.

Intel 22nm 3-D Tri-Gate Transistor Technology

Since these fins are vertical in nature, transistors can be packed closer together, a critical component to the technological and economic benefits of Moore's Law. Intel also points out that, for future generations, designers also have the ability to continue growing the height of the fins to get even more performance and energy-efficiency gains.

Intel's 3-D Tri-Gate transistors enable chips to operate at lower voltage with lower leakage, providing improved performance and energy efficiency compared to previous state-of-the-art transistors. The capabilities give chip designers the flexibility to choose transistors targeted for low power or high performance, depending on the application.

According to Intel's numbers, the 22nm 3-D Tri-Gate transistors provide up to 37 percent performance increase at low voltage versus Intel's 32nm planar 2-D transistors. Alternatively, the new transistors consume less than half the power when at the same performance as 2-D planar transistors on 32nm chips.

"For years we have seen limits to how small transistors can get," said Intel co-founder Gordon Moore. "This change in the basic structure is a truly revolutionary approach, and one that should allow Moore's Law, and the historic pace of innovation, to continue."

Today, Intel demonstrated the world's first 22nm microprocessor, codenamed "Ivy Bridge," working in a laptop, server and desktop computer. Ivy Bridge-based Core family processors will be the first high-volume chips to use 3-D Tri-Gate transistors. Ivy Bridge is slated for high-volume production readiness by the end of this year.

Intel 22nm 3-D Tri-Gate Transistor Technology

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Top Comments
  • 10 Hide
    Travis Beane , May 4, 2011 7:39 PM
    Intel and AMD have never failed to impress me.
    Congratulations to the army of researchers, engineers and scientists that it took to design these chips. My hat goes off to you.
Other Comments
  • 8 Hide
    rantoc , May 4, 2011 6:55 PM
    Impressive!
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , May 4, 2011 6:55 PM
    Kiss AMD goodbye?
  • 0 Hide
    WHComp , May 4, 2011 6:55 PM
    Goodbye AMD, you will be missed.
  • 1 Hide
    ben850 , May 4, 2011 6:57 PM
    They couldn't have picked a better representative?
  • 3 Hide
    burnley14 , May 4, 2011 6:59 PM
    I guess this is the "something revolutionary" Intel was promising for Ivy Bridge. Definitely revolutionary, I'm impressed.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , May 4, 2011 7:01 PM
    really puts the sting on amd. people were wondering if bulldozer could hold up to sandy bridge, but unless they plan on something huge, it doesn't seem like they will be able to keep up with intel. i guess that means amd fans could maybe look forward to inexpensive pricing.
  • 0 Hide
    ellarpc , May 4, 2011 7:07 PM
    AMD will just go ARMstrong and leave Intel with the dying x86... Or yeah AMD prolly won't be able to compete with Intel
  • 6 Hide
    greliu , May 4, 2011 7:08 PM
    I have to say I love AMD, but what the hell are they going to do now?
  • 9 Hide
    ben850 , May 4, 2011 7:10 PM
    As long as AMD's CPU's can still support the latest games and applications, I'll continue to buy them.

    Competition is required for innovation in this market..
  • 7 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , May 4, 2011 7:10 PM
    I'm glad I decided to wait for Ivy Bridge instead of Sandy Bridge.
  • 2 Hide
    milktea , May 4, 2011 7:16 PM
    To x86 or to ARM is the question. If only I could get a glimpse of the future... :D 
  • 5 Hide
    yyk71200 , May 4, 2011 7:19 PM
    WHCompGoodbye AMD, you will be missed.

    Saffron_BlazeKiss AMD goodbye?

    Haven't you heard? By the time Ivy Bridge rolls out, AMD will put transistors in four dimensions.
  • 5 Hide
    legacy-za , May 4, 2011 7:27 PM
    I seriously hope nVidia and AMD are paying attension, imagine this technology on your GFX cards? :) 
  • -3 Hide
    Fokissed , May 4, 2011 7:28 PM
    ben850As long as AMD's CPU's can still support the latest games and applications, I'll continue to buy them.Competition is required for innovation in this market..


    AMD is hardly competitive in the CPU market.
  • -3 Hide
    mrmotion , May 4, 2011 7:32 PM
    ben850As long as AMD's CPU's can still support the latest games and applications, I'll continue to buy them.Competition is required for innovation in this market..


    There isn't competition now(sandy bridge anyone?). Yet innovation is still moving us forward.
  • 2 Hide
    Haserath , May 4, 2011 7:36 PM
    yyk71200Haven't you heard? By the time Ivy Bridge rolls out, AMD will put transistors in four dimensions.

    So basically they will control time and space so that a Sempron could outperform any computer, even a supercomputer? Dang, I didn't think amdfangirl would've been right on that, but maybe it's true... ;) 
  • -1 Hide
    kiniku , May 4, 2011 7:39 PM
    Meh
  • 5 Hide
    silverblue , May 4, 2011 7:39 PM
    Grrr I hate posting something only for me to not be logged in and for Toms to lose the post.

    Anyway, a 37% increase in transistor performance doesn't necessarily translate to a 37% increase in CPU performance compared to Sandy Bridge. What it should mean is higher clocks and lower power usage, so you can have your cake and eat it too. And I now have a craving for waffles, yum.

    I was wondering about stacked memory, and Ivy Bridge should feature that too (if Semi-Accurate is to be believed). Should the memory bus be wide enough, an onboard GPU could be very fast. I'm wondering about AMD's plans with both sorts of technology. It would be naive to think that AMD didn't know about Intel using either of these, but you can't help but wonder how they're going to combat it. The only way Intel could've been more cruel would be to delay this announcement to just prior to the Bulldozer and Llano launches, but it's done now.
  • 10 Hide
    Travis Beane , May 4, 2011 7:39 PM
    Intel and AMD have never failed to impress me.
    Congratulations to the army of researchers, engineers and scientists that it took to design these chips. My hat goes off to you.
  • -1 Hide
    stingstang , May 4, 2011 7:44 PM
    Production readiness by the end of this year. So I'm thinking late Q1 next year we'll see this? I think I can wait until then...
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