updated 02:10 pm EDT, Wed May 4, 2011
Intel details Ivy Bridge and 3D transistor tech
Intel gave word on Wednesday that its upcoming Ivy Bridge processor design would be the first in the world to use new, ultra-dense 3D transistors. Nicknamed Tri-Gate, the designs would change the gates into 3D "fins" that regulate the current on all three sides, not just one. The design gets as much as 37 percent faster performance on a 22 nanometer chip at the same power or could chew just half the power at the same performance as a current-day, 32 nanometer chip.
The jump allegedly not just helped overcome Moore's Law limits in improvements that were creeping up with 22nm but helped it "far exceed" what it could do before, Intel said. The fins can grow 'taller' as the processes get more efficient, improving the efficiency as the technology scales up.
Ivy Bridge is due to reach shipping hardware in earnest by early 2012 after mass production late this year. Conventional desktops and notebooks using Core processors should be the first to get the benefit, but Intel hinted that the technology could be key to "more highly integrated" Atom chips for its phone and tablet ambitions. Intel has struggled to get handheld-friendly processors for years while ARM has dominated the category, being used in virtually every smartphone and tablet to date.
Beyond the newly efficient 3D transistors, Ivy Bridge is known to be bringing Intel's first truly native USB 3.0 support. Higher clock speeds, more cores, and faster graphics are likely at the same time.