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IBM to enlist high-k metal gate technology with its 45nm chips

Alongside Intel’s news of 45nm process technology, IBM today announced its own 45nm technological advancements that apply to products manufactured in its East Fishkill, NY plant starting in 2008.

Working with AMD and its other development partners including Sony and Toshiba, IBM has found a way to construct a critical part of the transistor with high-k metal gates, that substitutes a new material into a critical portion of the transistor that controls its primary on/off switching function. The material provides superior electrical properties compared to its predecessor, silicon dioxide, enhancing the transistor's function while also reducing leakage.

As important as the new material is the method for introducing it into current manufacturing techniques. The creation of this transistor component with the new material was accomplished by the IBM team without requiring major tooling or process changes in manufacturing - an essential element if the technology is to be economically viable.

“Until now, the chip industry was facing a major roadblock in terms of how far we could push current technology,” said Dr. T.C. Chen, vice president of Science and Technology, IBM Research. “After more than ten years of effort, we now have a way forward. With chip technology so pervasive in our everyday lives, this work will benefit people in many ways.”

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RE: 45nm vs. 90nm
By Dactyl on 1/28/2007 4:21:01 PM , Rating: 2
(the "square chips" are actually rectangular, of course... sorry)

RE: 45nm vs. 90nm
By Viditor on 1/28/2007 11:33:09 PM , Rating: 2
Nice post Dactyl.

The one thing you forgot to mention though is that NOBODY keeps their design the same...
By that I mean that they add a lot more things into the chip which reduces those savings (in the case of Penryn, they are vastly increasing the cache and other things).
If the defect yields are equivalent, then all that really matters is the footprint of the CPU (how big it is). You can either make it smaller (and save a lot of money but the same performance), or add things to it (make it more competitive and more expensive), or even a little of both...

The bottom line is that we won't know if Intel's 45nm are cheaper to produce until we know it's size and defect rate (and we NEVER know the defect rate...).

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser
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