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At the opening of Intel Developer Forum Fall 2009 Intel Corp. demonstrated the world’s first working chips made on 22nm fabrication process. The first microprocessors built using 22nm process technology are only due in 2011, but already now Intel is testing the process technology as it believes that successful shrinks of process technologies will enable higher-performance processors.

"At Intel, Moore's Law is alive and thriving. […], we are already moving ahead with development of our 22nm manufacturing technology and have built working chips that will pave the way for production of still more powerful and more capable processors,” said Paul Otellini, chief executive officer and president of Intel.

The 22nm test circuits include both SRAM memory as well as logic circuits to be used in future Intel microprocessors.

The 22nm wafer displayed by Mr. Otellini is made up of individual die containing 364 million bits of SRAM memory and has more than 2.9 billion transistors packed into an area the size of a fingernail. The chips contain the smallest SRAM cell used in working circuits ever reported at 0.092 square microns. The devices rely on a third-generation high-k metal gate transistor technology for improved performance and lower leakage power.

By continuing to lead in manufacturing technology Intel is able to innovate and integrate new features and functions into its processors. Following the move to 32nm Intel will subsequently introduce Sandy Bridge, Intel's next new microarchitecture. Sandy Bridge will feature a sixth generation graphics core on the same die as the processor core and includes AVX instructions for floating point, media, and processor intensive software. In general, Sandy Bridge is an evolutionary step after Intel Nehalem/Westmere, it will operate at circa 4GHz clock-speed as well as will have four to eight cores.

After Sandy Bridge, Intel plans to introduce code-named Ivy Bridge processors, a 22nm shrink of Sandy Bridge. In 2012, Intel will bring code-named Haswell processor to the market, which will feature brand-new micro-architecture in eight-core implementation as well as Intel Larrabee graphics core.

Tags: Intel, 22nm, Semiconductor, Ivy Bridge, Haswell, Larrabee

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