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TI is putting the pressure on Intel to deliver smaller, faster, chips for the the mobile space

Today, Texas Instrument has made a startling announcement that it will exceed Intel in terms of chip production and power consumption performance. Both companies are large players in the mobile chip market, especially for cell phones, but TI currently leads the charts. Both Intel and TI produce processors and memory for hand held devices too, but according to TI the company will be one step ahead of Intel in 45nm technology.

According to a report by Reuters, TI will double the number of chips that it can produce on each wafer of silicon by utilizing an advanced 45nm fabrication process. According to TI, processor speeds will increase by as much as 30 percent and power utilization cut by as much as 40 percent. For the mobile market, this is definitely a big achievement. As cell phone users know, many of today's feature-packed cell phones are so equipped that battery life has been greatly affected. Many of today's smart phones last no longer than two to three hours of talk time. At the same time, users are demanding more out of their devices.

TI announced that it has developed the smallest 45nm SRAM memory cell, taking up a mere 0.24 square microns. This is 30 percent smaller than Intel's smallest SRAM cell said TI. In fact, due to design, TI says that its 45nm SRAM cell is up to 30 percent smaller than other 45nm SRAM cells. According to the report, TI will be manufacturing the new chips out of its Texas facility, with samples becoming available next year and full production occurring in the middle of 2008. According to TI's press release:

Other improvements in how many transistors TI's 45-nm process can support on a chip can be attributed to the use of an ultra low-k dielectric that achieves a k value of 2.5, and reduces interconnect capacitance by 10 percent. This will be TI's third-generation process technology to use low k dielectrics for reducing capacitance and propagation delays within a device's interconnect layers, and boosting chip performance.

With the mobile market ever expanding, and at such an incredible rate, TI's pressure on Intel for pumping out faster, smaller and more efficient chips will only mean a win-win situation for the end user.

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There's some competition in the calculator market...
By Fox5 on 6/13/2006 3:08:45 PM , Rating: 2
HP produces a TI-89 look-alike calculator that uses a decently clocked Arm 9, I'd imagine it blows away the Ti-89 in performance and costs about the same. Unfortunately, it doesn't have the real upgrades a TI-89 needs...

1. A backlit screen for better viewability. Also, a higher res screen to make graphs and numbers more distinguishable and fit more data on screen at once. Color would be nice too, Casio's graphing calculators had that back in the early 90s.
2. Smaller and lighter calculator, come on, what happened to calculators that could easily fit in your pocket?
3. 4 AAA's? Come on, the thing could be powered by a small watch battery if it used modern production processes, and a rechargable Li-Ion battery would make it very nice.

The TI-89 does serve it's purpose well, and most people who buy it won't even use half of its features. (and of those that do, most really still don't need it, high schoolers can do learn to do math by hand) However, I'd say there is a market for a higher end entry, though the monopoly on standardized tests and such (on which a color, high res, backlit screen wouldn't be wanted due to cheating possibilities) makes the market smaller for competitors. I'm sure you could find a nice PDA and some software for it (perhaps a mobile Linux platform) that could do far more/better, but the user interface would be limited by the lack of calculator buttons and a single screen.

By SiSiX on 6/13/2006 9:56:10 PM , Rating: 2
Fox5, I agree with you completely on #1 and they still make small "pocket" calaculators. As for the 4 AAA's thing, I've got my TI-92 that I got in 1995 for Calc, graduated in 2000, and changed the batteries in it to 4 AA lithium battiers about a week before then. Still has the same set of batteries in it and it still works. Gets pulled out maybe a dozen times a year. That's why they stick with removable batteries like AA's and AAA's. Calculators tend to get used a lot then sit for a while before they are used again. Would be a real pain to have to charge the dumb thing for 20 minutes to use it for less than a minute every once in a while.

As for more speed...well, it would be nice if they had a "Turbo" mode for those big matrices and 3D graphs...


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