Intel plans 45-nanometer chips next year

Intel said it will ship 45nm PC processors in the second half of 2007.

Intel will enter the next era of Moore's Law in the second half of 2007 with commercial shipment of its first PC processors based on a 45-nanometer manufacturing process.

The company has shown off what it called the world's first fully functional static RAM (SRAM) chip made with a 45nm process technology. It has more than 1 billion transistors, according to a company statement.

Like other test chips, it functioned as SRAM, but included all the elements of a multicore PC processor, Intel spokesperson, John Casey, said.

It was not intended as an Intel product, but only to demonstrate that the company could build a chip with the next-generation technology, he said.

A nanometer is a millionth of a millimeter, and each chip production technology is measured by the size of the smallest feature it can produce on a chip.

With the 45nm manufacturing process, Intel could make processors with five times less power leakage than current chips, Intel said, and as a result, it would allow for PCs with higher performance per watt.

The company's most advanced manufacturing technology today is 65nm, which went into commercial production in the fourth quarter of last year. Intel moves to a new process generation every two years.

Moore's Law, coined by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, states that the number of transistors on a chip will double every 18 months.

The chips would be made on large 300mm wafers, Intel said. Those wafers delivered higher volume and lower cost per chip than smaller wafers.

The company's initial 45nm work is taking place at its D1D fabrication plant in Oregon. It is also building two more fabs for 45nm manufacturing - Fab 32 in Arizona and Fab 28 in Israel.

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