As big as they make it?

Article: Intel's 22nm Tri-Gate Transistors
By: David Kanter (, May 10, 2011 3:17 pm
Room: Moderated Discussions
Erik ( on 5/10/11 wrote:
>So, I'm not much of an expert in this. But I'm just >wondering, is this really as big as they make it?
>I mean, I'm sure they've been needing breakthroughs time >and again as they kept
>on scaling to smaller and smaller feature sizes. One >interesting breakthrough, for
>example, has been to be able to make features smaller than >the wavelength used. I'm sure there must be plenty of >others.
>Isn't this one, though important, being touted a bit out >of proportion, perhaps to get stock prices to increase?
>I'm just wondering. I can see it's big - but is it that >big?
>I'd love to read some informed opinions on that.

What would you compare this to? Perhaps it would help to understand what you consider to be a 'big deal'.

It really depends on how you want to think about different breakthroughs.

In the context of semiconductors, it's pretty big. Every integrated circuit for the last 30-40 years has used a planar process, derived from Jean Hoerni's early work. Moving from a planar design to a 3D FinFET is pretty revolutionary. It's also not trivial for others to replicate for a variety of reasons. Other companies will probably take another 3-4 years to get the same benefits.

However, if you take a step back - you might ask: "So what? What does a 22nm tri-gate transistor do for me the consumer?"

The answer isn't clear, because we haven't seen products yet. However, they have pointed out several pretty dramatic benefits. In the context of low voltage transistors, they are seeing 37% more performance, or 50% less power. That's a pretty darn big improvement, although it doesn't mean that products will be 50% less power, the benefits should be a bit smaller. What is clear is that this gives Intel a nice edge for things like cell phones, etc. so it could really matter.

From a consumer stand point, the answer is "initial data does seem like a big deal, but we have to wait and see". I think at IEDM, there will be a bit more disclosure and a much better sense of the impact. Obviously, products will be the best measure of all.

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TopicPosted ByDate
Intel's 22nm Tri-Gate transistorsDavid Kanter2011/05/06 12:27 AM
  Intel's 22nm Tri-Gate transistorsa reader2011/05/06 08:42 AM
  Intel's 22nm Tri-Gate transistorssomeone2011/05/06 10:56 AM
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  Intel's 22nm Tri-Gate transistorsHans de Vries2011/05/08 06:33 PM
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  As big as they make it?Erik2011/05/10 11:26 AM
    As big as they make it?David Kanter2011/05/10 03:17 PM
      As big as they make it?gruehunter2011/05/10 05:43 PM
        As big as they make it?David Kanter2011/05/10 06:53 PM
    As big as they make it?ajensen2011/05/10 10:58 PM
    As big as they make it? me: yesMoritz2011/05/11 11:20 PM
  Intel's 22nm Tri-Gate transistorsMr. Camel2011/05/18 07:41 AM
    Intel's 22nm Tri-Gate transistorssomeone2011/05/18 10:00 AM
      Intel's 22nm Tri-Gate transistorsMr. Camel2011/05/18 11:54 AM
        Intel's 22nm Tri-Gate transistorssomeone2011/05/18 03:10 PM
          Intel's 22nm Tri-Gate transistorsDaniel Bizo2011/05/19 03:59 AM
            Intel's 22nm Tri-Gate transistorssomeone2011/05/19 06:17 AM
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