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Smaller is better... - MegaZone's Safety Valve
The Ramblings of a Damaged Mind
zonereyrie
zonereyrie
Smaller is better...
AMD, IBM to develop 32nm, 22nm chip making tech

The non-geeks probably just shrugged, and even some of the geeks. But when I saw that headline today it gave me a moment's pause. Just a few years ago it was a big deal when Intel and AMD managed to push chips to the 250nm mark, that was around 2000. Within a decade of that they're looking to be at 22nm, more than an order of magnitude smaller. For then non-geeks, a nm is nanometer, one billionth of a meter. A human hair is roughly 80,000nm in width. The measurements refer to the minimum size of components that can be etched onto a silicon chip. Current chips like the Pentium and Athlon are mostly 90nm now, and most of the industry is at worst 130nm and at best 65nm. The smaller you can make the transistors, interconnects, etc, the faster you can run the chip. Also, the smaller the area the same number of transistors use, and hence the more chips you can make from a given silicon wafer, which brings costs down. So the finer the resolution, the more powerful and less expensive the chips get.

Anyway, as a geek, seeing them pushing into realms that, just a few years ago, 'experts' were saying would be 'impossible' to reach, just makes me sit back for a moment and marvel at the rapid march we're on.

Tags: , ,
I am: thoughtful thoughtful
Current Media: office buzz

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Comments
pvaneynd From: pvaneynd Date: November 1st, 2005 08:50 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
AOL

When I read about the immersion lithography they use to beat the Rayleigh criterion I was just stunned. It still seems like magic to me :-).
rbarclay From: rbarclay Date: November 1st, 2005 09:15 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
Which headline do you mean? The one you actually linked to, "AMD, IBM to develop 32nm, 22nm chip making tech", or the one you pretended to link to, "Pretec readies smallest USB Flash drive yet" ;-?

<a href="http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/11/01/amd_ibm_chip_deal/">http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/11/01/p<wbr />retec_idisk_diamond/</a>
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: November 1st, 2005 09:19 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
Oops. The 22nm article.

Though the small USB Flash Drive is kind of nifty.
From: bramsmits Date: November 2nd, 2005 12:26 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Yes. I wonder how far they'll be able to push current technology, and what they will come up with next - not as in "what's currently in the lab" but as in "what will turn out to be commercially viable".
cyber_pagan From: cyber_pagan Date: November 2nd, 2005 12:38 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
'So the finer the resolution, the more powerful and less expensive the chips get.' Of course following this to its logical conclusion, we will eventually be able to do anything with nothing and at no cost!

solipsistnation From: solipsistnation Date: November 2nd, 2005 12:42 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Well, sure, once we sublime into a godlike state and leave the plane of the material.

zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: November 2nd, 2005 12:43 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Pervasive nanotechnology - as in The Diamond Age.
fallenpegasus From: fallenpegasus Date: November 2nd, 2005 02:13 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
That is the promise of nanotech and the industrial singularity.

Then the only brakes will be legal barriers, political conflicts, mental limiations, and intellectual property.
solipsistnation From: solipsistnation Date: November 2nd, 2005 12:41 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
No kidding. I remember when 130nm was SUPER COOL...
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: November 2nd, 2005 12:49 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Yeah, like, yesterday? :-) AMD is already outfitting their new Dresden Fab to make 65nm chips on 300mm wafers, Intel is also shifting some chips to 65nm. And they're both already designing the next generation of chips for 40nm.

Don't blink, you'll miss it.

"Holy shit, this hard drive is less than A BUCK A MEG!"
fallenpegasus From: fallenpegasus Date: November 2nd, 2005 02:10 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
One order of magnitude in 6 years. Doing it again is going to be tough, 2.5nm is only a few dozen atoms wide, and doing it yet again is going to be really tough, resulting in wires only one atom wide.

Nanotech, here we come...
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