Intel promises processors with 1 trillion transistors by 2030

Intel, once the leader in the processor market, both in the development of new technologies and in manufacturing capacity, has been overtaken in recent years by rivals such as TSMC and Samsung. These companies already offer partners the capability to develop chips on 4nm architecture, and will soon move to 3nm nodes as well. Intel, on the other hand, is barely on 10nm, but the company promises to invest heavily over the next few years to regain its title as a leader in processor technology.

Intel processors will adopt new technologies faster than ever before

The American company celebrated the 75th anniversary of the creation of the first transistor, and announced at IDEM 2022 (International Electron Devices Meeting) that it plans to release the first processor incorporating 1 trillion transistors in the next 7 years, so sometime around 2030. This is not currently possible with the technologies available to us, but shrinking the manufacturing process should make it possible to “cram” a larger number of transistors into a regular-sized “package”.

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Intel says it will make this possible by applying Moore’s law. Gordon Moore, Intel’s co-founder, established this “law”, initially saying that every year, and later that every two years, the density of transistors in a processor doubles. This was true until a few years ago, when the processor field began to stagnate. But now, with new manufacturing processes, Moore’s Law seems likely to be valid again.

Intel will try to be the first company to take advantage of HNAEUV (High Numerical Aeraerture Extreme Ultraviolet) lithography, the next step in processor manufacturing. This will make it possible to create processors 1.7 times smaller than today and with almost 3 times the transistor density (2.9x).

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The new manufacturing process will replace FinFET-type transistors with what is called a RibbonFET, which will use vertically stacked nano-ribbons to allow current to pass through all four sides of a channel. What’s more, Intel is talking about new materials composed of just three atoms that will be used in transistor production. These will allow the density to increase even further to 10 times the current jump.

Of course, processors with high transistor density will result in high performance, so we should expect significant leaps in processing power in the next few years.

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