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We Are Giving You the 65nm Production Technology!

Before we pass over to Presler processors, we would like to talk a little bit more about the 65nm production technology, which Intel finalized and made ready for mass production by the end of 2005, as we have all expected. Especially, since other semiconductor manufacturers are still quite far from reaching these heights. For example, Intel’s main competitor, AMD Company, is planning to introduce 65nm process only in the end of 2006.

What are the major peculiarities of the new Intel P1264 production technology that we should mention in the first place?

First of all I would like to mention the things that remained the same since the times of the 90nm P1262 production technology. Here I am talking about most of the equipment they use in their production lines for semiconductor dies. To cut the long story short, the new Intel 65nm process uses the same UV lithography with 193nm wave combined with phase shift masks technology. However, it didn’t prevent the manufacturer from reducing the effective transistor gate length to 35nm, which is about 30% smaller than in 90nm process.

Nothing has also been changed about the wafer diameter: just as during the 90nm cores manufacturing, they will use 300mm wafers. So, it means that Intel already has all the major equipment for 65nm process, which is installed and works fine. And this is a very important thing. For example, the transition to 130nm technology in 2001 went on very slowly because of the delays with lithographic equipment installation. This time, there are no problems like that. So, there is every reason to hope that new Intel 65nm CPUs will be widely available in the market in early 2006 already.

The materials used for transistor making also remained the same. However, some extra effort was applied to minimize leakage current. Strained silicon technology first introduced in 90nm production process got into its more advanced incarnation in the new 65nm process. While the insulator layer remained at the same 1.2nm, the transistor channels deformation increased by about 15%. As a result, this allowed minimizing leakage currents by about 4 times, thus leading to a 30% increase of transistor responsiveness without any heat dissipation growth.

Note that Intel once again rejected the SOI technology, which has been so successfully used by AMD. According to Intel’s specialists, this technology will not prove efficient for the currently used production technology.

And the last thing I would like to draw your attention to is the larger number of copper metal layers they will be using. There are eight of them in the new CPU, which is one layer more than in 90nm cores. This should help Intel simplify the upcoming dies design.

As we see, there is nothing revolutionary about the new production technology, just as there is nothing revolutionary about the architecture of the new Presler and Cedar Mill CPUs. Nevertheless, there are a few really interesting things about Presler that we should talk more about.

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