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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
By RockfordFile on 1/29/2007 12:16:26 PM , Rating: 2
What you're forgetting though is that it wasn't just "64-bitness" that AMD's strategy was all about. Intel spent 10+ years developing a proprietary 64-bit solution that required not only special motherboards and slots (to say nothing of a terribly humungous processor unit that ran very hot, soaked all kinds of power, and was very expensive), but a completely new platform. This forced any company/department thinking about upgrading to a supposedly better technology to have to consider the huge cost of switching EVERYTHING, hardware AND software.

AMD called Intel's bluff, spent far fewer years in development, delivered on promises (mostly) and ended up with an inexpensive, viable, market-tapping solution that did not require major hardware or software costs. AMD's strategy was about recognizing the economics of the customers Intel was aiming Itanium at, and acting intelligently to predict their concerns and address the overriding problem in Intel's strategy.

If you ask me, AMD made Intel out to be a fool for missing such a compartively simple and ingenius solution to the problem. 64-bit may still not be here, but it will be someday, and by then the younger generation of software engineers will already have cut their teeth developing on ancient AMD64 CPUs.


RE: 45nm
By JackPack on 1/29/2007 3:31:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If you ask me, AMD made Intel out to be a fool for missing such a compartively simple and ingenius solution to the problem.

Nobody missed the obvious x86-64 solution. Intel's Yamhill x86-64 project began even before AMD's.

The point of IA-64 was to eliminate the Technology Exchange Agreement between Intel and AMD. IBM in the 1980s stipulated that Intel license its x86 chips to someone else (AMD) so that IBM would not be stuck with single source of supply. Intel wanted IA-64 to replace x86 so that it would be game over for AMD. IA-64 has been successful with commercial workloads and in the 16+ socket space due to its massive FP performance advantage. But general computing needs integer performance, an area IA-64 is not strong in.


RE: 45nm
By RockfordFile on 1/29/2007 4:38:11 PM , Rating: 2
That may be, but Yamhill or not, it wasn't Intel's core strategy until AMD released the Opteron and started outselling Intel and gaining ground with other vendors that previously wrote AMD off. It was a PR win for AMD for sure.

Hindsight may be 20/20, but Intel wanting to replace x86 with a new platform was a plan that had huge hurdles to overcome when IA-64 began, and those problems have only increased exponentially by this point. I think if anyone ends up moving away from x86, it'll be AMD, because I'm sure they don't want to be yoked to Intel to approve use of the technology, as much as Intel doesn't want to be yoked to AMD as a silent validation of AMD's competing business.

At some point they will diverge technologically, and AMD will have to work to differentiate and prove itself again, to remain Intel's most viable threat when running the same operating system in average households. They need to have another 5 years of homeruns on their roadmap to compete with the very strong 1999-2004 they had.


"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer

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