MegaZone (zonereyrie) wrote,
MegaZone
zonereyrie

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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: deep thoughts, geek, hardware
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