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Strained Silicon Chips From Intel

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the try-ace-bandages dept.

Intel 126

Quirk writes "NewScientist is reporting... "Intel has taken the wraps off a secret technique it is using'Strained silicon' chips to increase the speed of its Pentium and Centrino chips. The technique boosts the rate at which transistors switch, without having to make them smaller.""

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Hey hey (-1, Troll)

SageMadHatter (546701) | more than 10 years ago | (#7799754)

First Post

Finally Caught On (0, Troll)

rkz (667993) | more than 10 years ago | (#7799756)

Chip Architect [chip-architect.com] was speculating on this way back when intel's 64 bit extensions were still called Yamhill. They make some interesting observations that lead them to belive the second 32 bit ALU was to allow for 64 bit integer operations in a 2x32 bit format. And not to assist with eliminating resource shortages in HT as some others had suggested.
And even if that does pan out it's highly unlikley to appear in desktop Prescott core chips anytime soon. Seems much more like something you'd find in Xeon MPs and later DPs to eliminate the need for that hack they call PAE.
Though i hardly see how 'somebody told us a seinor exec said' makes Slashdot.' (I understand that's what the Inquirier bases most of their news on, i thought we had slightly higher standards of reliability)

Re:Finally Caught On (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7799772)

Warning: .sig of parent links to the infamous last measure.

And may I just say a big THANK YOU to penisbird of the GNAA for making last measure.

Re:Finally Caught On (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7800960)

I hadn't seen it, but guessing it was gnaa related, I fired up IE and pasted it in just for fun. When it finally loaded on my 56k, (which was funny in and of itself,) and it started blaring, I got quite a laugh. Then I killed IE, and everything went back to normal. Still a good bit of fun for a tuesday night.

WARNING: DON'T CLICK .SIG LINK (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7799777)

some tubgirl mirror is there.

Re:Finally Caught On (-1, Offtopic)

bethane (686358) | more than 10 years ago | (#7799790)

DETAILS HAVE EMERGED of the future design of Intel's Tejas/Pentium V processor, and of how the chip firm will present it to the world.

The chip will sample internally at Intel in January 2004 and will take between four to six months to get to market. The Pentium 6 will follow a very similar schedule.

The Pentium V is likely to fly along at between 5GHz to 7GHz, have 2MB plus of level two cache, be built on a 90 nanometer process, and have a stackable design.

The processor we believe, sits in the LGA 775 pin socket, and above it is a very thin heatsink. But, according to sources close to the firm's plans, another permeable heatsink can sit between this and another microprocessor module, giving a stackable design.

The final design of this arrangement is not set in stone.

According to this source, and the details have not been confirmed, a module sitting on top could provide 64-bit extensions.

And the source claimed, Microsoft is ready to launch a version of Windows called Elements with 64-bit extensions.

The idea seems to be that people can buy a 32-bit module, and then add in the 64-bit processor.

There are three samples of an arrangement of the Pentium V here in Taiwan this week, with a very thin processor and lots of wires and patches stuck on it, just to show proof of concept.

The Pentium V could have a front side bus speed of as much as 4000MHz, the source claimed, although this may be reserved for the next chip along, the Nehalem.

Re:Finally Caught On (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7799826)

I'm VERY skeptical of a 4 GHz bus. You have to get some PCB magicians to get that fast access to memory.

Re:Finally Caught On (2, Interesting)

Bender_ (179208) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800096)

This is most probably a fake:

o stackable chip - unpropable
o 64Bit extension by module? Good joke, there is just no way to provide this technically..
o "lots of wires" - no way, you dont get above 20MHz when connection a CPU by wires
o 4000MHz front side bus - no way there is a tenfold increase.

Try harder next time..

Pentium = 5; Pentium V = Re-Pentium ? (1)

anti-NAT (709310) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800324)

It's somebody else's joke (I think I read it on the Register or the Inquirer), I can't take credit for it.

I found it pretty funny though.

Second Post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7799758)

I am teh winz, and everyone below me is teh sux

FR15T P0S7! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7799766)

MACS are better! Wintel Evil . They stole this technology from Apple! I have Mad Cow Disease!

6th post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7799771)

suck my bong

Fujitsu (0, Interesting)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 10 years ago | (#7799776)

There was a problem with Fujitsu hard disks a few months back because of a problem with their silicon boards being strained. It turns out that the factory from which they were receiving their silicon from wasn't cleaning the silicon of enough impurities and this resulted in the resulting products based on the bad silicon up and dying with no warning.

While this is not the same type of straining that Intel is doing, it is important to see whether this new technology can function in real world situations without failure. And it is important to test this over a long period of time.

Re:Fujitsu (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7800026)

While this is not the same type of straining that Intel is doing



Indeed, in fact this is of absolutely _NO RELEVANCE_ to strained silicon FETS. Please inform yourself before posting, and consider not posting halve-knowledge.

Re:Fujitsu (1)

Kelz (611260) | more than 10 years ago | (#7801619)

This is slashdot. You must be new here!

Re:Fujitsu (1)

darqchild (570580) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800751)

What the hell does this have to do with the article?

Re:Fujitsu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7801141)

Um, last I remember, Fujitsu suffered from a bad chip potting material -- the epoxy or ceramic the silicon is *packaged* in to make it into a solderable device.

Am I wrong?

Since when is Strained Silicon Secret? (5, Interesting)

RalphBNumbers (655475) | more than 10 years ago | (#7799778)

I know IBM has been publically working with this, at least in research, for a long time, and it's a fair bet other firms were too.
IIRC they've even used SSoI (Strained Silicon on Insulator) for some production ASICs...

Re:Since when is Strained Silicon Secret? (0, Offtopic)

urmensch (314385) | more than 10 years ago | (#7799792)

OT - Which book is your sig from?

Re:Since when is Strained Silicon Secret? (5, Informative)

Dreadlord (671979) | more than 10 years ago | (#7799802)

true, I was going to post something similar, here is the link to IBM's research about Strained Silicon. [ibm.com]
I first thought it was the submitter's mistake, but actually the story is taked off the article.
Maybe someone can shed some light here.

Re:Since when is Strained Silicon Secret? (3, Interesting)

metlin (258108) | more than 10 years ago | (#7801219)

During my undergrad, one of my professors of Solid State Circuits lab talked about this. She said that the reason this is hard is because when your source/gate region is partially depleted of charge carriers, there is a need to raise the source-drain gates effectively to utilize the technology. You see, one of the benefits is that the effective capacitance of your source-drain region is decreased. However, if your source-drain gates are not sufficiently increased, the remaining charge carriers remain back and over a period of time this in itself builds up a capacitance. It then begins to function like a dual capacitor device, etc.

And to counter this, you will end up using metal within your S-D zone, however that will have its own side effects - you will need more interconnects and this will increase the resistance by a very slight amount. Trivial for a small number of transistors but if you're having a few million of them, it could be painful. Also, it would mean that the entire thing is going to heat up ever so quickly.

And ofcourse, you always have issues with the Floating Body effects [smu.edu] (warning Powerpoint).

Couple this with a hard manufacturing process, and you have a technology thats atleast going to take another 5-10 years to mature. And thats being optimistic :)

Re:Since when is Strained Silicon Secret? (1)

Daneurysm (732825) | more than 10 years ago | (#7801716)

supernerd to english filter: blah blah blah blah blah, more FPS in 5-10 years.

Re:Since when is Strained Silicon Secret? (1)

Bender_ (179208) | more than 10 years ago | (#7801833)

[.. lots of very inaccurate nerd gibberish deleted.. ]

I believe you are mixing up strained silicon with SOI?

Re:Since when is Strained Silicon Secret? (2, Informative)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 10 years ago | (#7801242)

There is a difference between understanding and using. Intel has announced that they are using strained silicon in a production environment. The big difference here is scaling the process up. As they mentioned in the article, they have disclosed their use of, but not how their strained silicon electronics are made.

Re:Since when is Strained Silicon Secret? (1)

gnudutch (235983) | more than 10 years ago | (#7801248)

The secret is that Intel figured out how to do it... CHEAP.

Re:Since when is Strained Silicon Secret? (4, Insightful)

cmacb (547347) | more than 10 years ago | (#7799819)

I bet what the article MEANT to say was that they took the wraps off the fact that they are using this process. The secret being not the process but their use of it. Especially since they credit a university researcher with the concept back in 1992.

Slashdot story 2.5 years ago (0, Redundant)

bstadil (7110) | more than 10 years ago | (#7799835)

Look Here [slashdot.org] for Strained Silicon Secret.

Re:Since when is Strained Silicon Secret? (1)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800981)

The secret apparently is the production process used to utilize the strained silicon technology. It's one thing to have the theory and quite another to have it working on a large scale. And Intel is making use of both compressing and stretching the silicon, something that really enhances performance.

Re:Since when is Strained Silicon Secret? (2, Informative)

Bender_ (179208) | more than 10 years ago | (#7801853)

Since when is Strained Silicon Secret?

The idea of strained silicon is to apply a mechanical stress to the silicon. This will change the spacing between the silicon atoms (the lattice spacing), which will indirectly reduce the channel resistance, therefore allowing faster transistor switching speed.

Indeed, this has been known for a long time, but so far it has not been used in commercial products due to the problems involved with the actual manufacturing of theses devices.

The classical way to manufacture theses devices
is to grow a thin layer of silicon germanium on your wafer. The SiGe layer has a slightly different lattice spacing than silicon. When a silicon layer is grown on top of the SiGe layer it adapts its lattice spacing. Therefore it is possible to grow silicon layers with a slightly different lattice spacing.

This way is persued by IBM and others and is quite expensive.

Intel managed to find a different way. They just build their transistores on common Si-Wafers, but deposit mechanically stressed layers on top of their transistors. This will result in a mechanical stress in the transistor channel and does therefore lead to the same result.

The difference is that Intels method is a lot cheaper (adds only 2% to overall cost), they have all the patents, and it does actually work in a manifacturing process.

Cyrix (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7799789)

had actually been doing this for years.

Re:Cyrix (1)

Bender_ (179208) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800009)

That is definitly not true - please supply reference if you believe otherwhise.

Deja Vu, all over again. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7799808)

Dupe, Maybe read this [slashdot.org] 2.5 year old story

Re:Deja Vu, all over again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7799848)

yup, no news like old news.

Strained silicon?!!? (4, Funny)

BWJones (18351) | more than 10 years ago | (#7799813)

Shoot, I should tell you about strained silicon. That overclocking experiment I did a couple years ago went horribly wrong when the water pump failed and smoke started pouring out of the case. THAT was decidedly strained silicon. :-)

Re:Strained silicon?!!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7799938)

hehe...

Future bad headlines for this technology (4, Funny)

Craig Maloney (1104) | more than 10 years ago | (#7799818)

Intel sees chip futures strained
Intel strains to find new chips
Intel strains to make chips faster

etc... ad nauseum.

Re:Future bad headlines for this technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7800011)

Actually I see...

"Beleagured Apple Strains to Catch up with Intel"

Re:Future bad headlines for this technology (5, Funny)

ozric99 (162412) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800018)

.... Apple introduces their fledgling product: iStrain.

Re:Future bad headlines for this technology (1)

wildsurf (535389) | more than 10 years ago | (#7801437)

.... Apple introduces their fledgling product: iStrain.

With its companion web viewer: iBrowse.

Re:Future bad headlines for this technology (2, Funny)

Walt Dismal (534799) | more than 10 years ago | (#7801457)

You're all too late. Safeway carries Beechnut Strained Silicon, and babies love it. What scares me is Gerber Creamed Silicon with Spinach.

Hmm.... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7799822)

Pulling on my processor with two pairs of pliers just bent a few of the pins and made it smoke a bit...

Mechanical Stress (4, Interesting)

miracle69 (34841) | more than 10 years ago | (#7799825)

All of this is at the atomic level, but I do wonder how these things hold up to mechanical and thermal stress.

To stretch the silicon lattice, Intel deposits a film of silicon nitride over the whole transistor at high temperature. Because silicon nitride contracts less than silicon as it cools, it locks the silicon lattice beneath it in place with a wider spacing than it would normally adopt. This improves electron conduction by 10 per cent.

What temperature ranges does this become an issue? If my processor gets warm, will its performance decrease because the strain dissapeared?

Would mild mechanical stress on the chip (i.e. application of heat-sink) alter the strain?

Direction (1)

Atario (673917) | more than 10 years ago | (#7799944)

I'd like to know if the lattice could be stretched in all three directions, rather than just one. And if so, would that provide any benefit? Or does the benefit come from that directionality?

Re:Direction (2, Informative)

some guy I know (229718) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800762)

I'd like to know if the lattice could be stretched in all three directions, rather than just one.
Based on the quote in the grandparent post (and the picture at the bottom of the page in the article [ibm.com] , which shows a side-slice of the configuration), the strain is 2D already (plane face to plane face).
The only way to get 3D straining would be to have a 3D substrate, with the transistor material embedded within.
It seems to me that, in such a configuration, the substrate would interfere with the operation of the transistor.

Won't happen (2, Insightful)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800334)

Anything P4 and later has the built in temp sensor that slows down the cpu if it overheats. If your cpu is getting so hot that its melting silicon then you have bigger problems to deal with. The tomshardware video still gives me a chuckle when the AMD chip goes *poof* and smokes without a heatsink. Trying to save a few cents I suppose.

Re:Won't happen (1)

Wolfrider (856) | more than 10 years ago | (#7801624)

--BTW, Tom's Hardware worked / is working with AMD to prevent these catastrophic failures from happening in the future. I think the chips made after that article started incorporating safety features.

Re:Mechanical Stress (4, Informative)

mercuryresearch (680293) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800378)

I spoke with Intel about this in the spring.

Apparently the strained silicon technology came about due to research related to mechanical stress problems they were encountering across the entire chip -- so it already was an issue. Their research solved the mechanical stress problem, and they later realized by intentionally localizing the effect they could basically place the strain at individual transistors to improve performance.

Because the effect is localized and controlled it's no longer an issue of concern, AFAIK.

Heat sinks, etc, shouldn't alter the strain at the transistor level. Remember, we are talking about this at the atomic level, so any macro-level strain like a heat sink would have to be pretty substantial to work its way down into the crystal lattice structure to the point of affecting performance. (Sort of humorous if it did, though, as it would imply microprocessors would go faster if you squeezed them. In reality Intel is actually stretching the size of the normal silicon lattice structure, so heat sink stress (compression) would actually be working against you, but it's also occuring in the wrong axis (the lattice stretching is 2D X-Y, not Z-axis.)

heat doesn't affect performance per se (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7800643)

Performance is directly related to the speed of the input clock and the internal multiplier.

If the strain were to disappear due to heat, the sole result would be your chip would malfunction or crash. It wouldn't cause it to slow down.

Much as a regular chip can be overclocked to failure and has no internal mechanism to prevent it, these chips have no way to know that their strain mechanism is no longer working.

Well... (0, Flamebait)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 10 years ago | (#7799830)

at least now I could have my silicon pre-strained, instead of having all those Viagara spams do it...

Compared to AMD...? (0, Flamebait)

leprasmurf (561814) | more than 10 years ago | (#7799832)

I wonder how long it will take for AMD to develop a better technique. Not to mention with AMD's new 64 bit architecture this silicon stressing will really be just to keep up with AMD.

Doesn't this really just focus on the clock speed of the processor which has already been proven not to be the focal point of performance? Switching faster won't increase the bandwidth, maybe it will just be able to push more through the same amount of space then?

fanboys are funny (1)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 10 years ago | (#7799843)

Intel potentially uses a new technology that AMD doesn't have, and fan boy talks about how much better AMD will be than Intel when AMD implements said technology. ROFL.

Re:fanboys are funny (5, Insightful)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800171)

And the Intel fanboys make fun of the AMD fanboys? Very mature.

Intel and AMD both have a variety of technologies available to them, sometimes uniquely, sometimes shared or licensed.

Currently AMD holds the speed crown with the hammer series of chips. Before that, intel held the speed crown when the P4 series ramped up to the very high clockspeeds it was capable of. Before that, AMD held the speed crown when it beat intel soundly to 1GHz. Before that, intel was everything.

When you consider that now, AMD seems to be a low-end commodity CPU technology leader (first to get 64bit on the desktop and all), and intel have changed their plans by announcing work on an x86-64 CPU, but intel by far has a huge installed base and the same entrenched loyalty in consumers that Bill Gates enjoys (They are the biggest, most expensive company so their product is more reliable FUD).

I'm interested in seeing who will win out - the larger company with the market share (but less innovative product), or the innovator with a cheaper, more powerful product. I think intel will win, after observing the linux/windows market competition.

Re:fanboys are funny (4, Insightful)

oconnorcjo (242077) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800654)

I'm interested in seeing who will win out - the larger company with the market share (but less innovative product), or the innovator with a cheaper, more powerful product. I think intel will win, after observing the linux/windows market competition.

If Linux could run all the programs that MS does, I would say your logic made some sense but the fact is that linux is "johny come lately" when 90% of the desktop was already tied to MS. Linux can't run everything that MS does and it is not realistic for most people to switch all software and everything they know to something completely new. That arguement does not hold true for the AMD/Intel market. What runs on Intel will run just as well on AMD with no change in user experience (often without any knowledge of what chip they are using).

Re:fanboys are funny (2, Insightful)

ProtonMotiveForce (267027) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800910)

Some factual mistakes in your post.

1. I don't recall Intel announcing anything about any x86-64 CPU.
2. Intel's products are more reliable, as they spend a _lot_ more time testing and qualifying their products than any other manufacturer.

Re:fanboys are funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7801456)

So, because you don't remember something, it's factually incorrect?

2. Intel's products are more reliable, as they spend a _lot_ more time testing and qualifying their products than any other manufacturer.

Eh? So, Microsofts products are more reliable, as they spend a _lot_ more time testing and qualifying their products than any other software OS developer?

Thanks for the keen advice! Can we still get those intel CPU's that don't do long division properly? It's a shame intel recalled those P3 1.13GHz processors, they were so reliable! All the testing you see.

Intel isn't releasing an x86-64 CPU. But AMD did. So now Intel, no longer the market leader, is developing x86-64 extensions into the pentium line of processors.

Why? Couple of reasons. Firstly, intel has realised that itanium/ia64 is too expensive and too niche, too poorly designed with very low yields to compete with Opteron (now they claim it was never intended to compete with Opteron, but higher end servers, nice work spin paramedics). Secondly, both the open source community and microsoft are embracing x86-64, yet, not itanium to the same extent. Intel currently cannot compete with AMD in the 64 bit mainstream adoption market.

Re:fanboys are funny (1)

mabinogi (74033) | more than 10 years ago | (#7801608)

> So now Intel, no longer the market leader, is developing x86-64 extensions into the pentium line of processors.

Where's a link to the press release?

Re:Compared to AMD...? (1)

ProtonMotiveForce (267027) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800922)

This is so laughably stupid on so many levels I can only assume it's an inelegant attempt at a troll.

What's funny is you probably think it's subtle and clever. _That's_ why I laugh.

Re:Compared to AMD...? (1)

Makoss (660100) | more than 10 years ago | (#7801563)

This is why slashdot needs a "Moron: -1" or "No longer on speaking terms with reality:-2" Moderation. . .

RTFA, the tech is old, the story is they are giving away the technique. And thank you for demonstrating that you have no idea what you're talking about when it comes to chip design.

The sort of blind zealotry you are exhibiting frightens me deeply, did you even think about what you wrote? Do you REMEMBER what utter CRAP AMD chips used to be???

Note: Every system I've built in the last 3 years has been an AMD.

gee they caughy up with AMD (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7799836)

who has been looking at this for 2-3 years

OLD NEWS, its just that INTEL finally has to start grasping at straws.

INTEL= PISS POOR PERFORMANCE

Yet another reminder for naysayers... (3, Insightful)

Amiga Lover (708890) | more than 10 years ago | (#7799841)

...who claim we're coming to the limits of silicon, and XXXX MHz is the highest that can be achieved. Technology will keep on advancing relentlessly, changing and adapting.

Pick an absolute limit for the speed of a CPU... then proceed to completely ignore it. Can't go wrong there.

Re:Yet another reminder for naysayers... (3, Informative)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 10 years ago | (#7799973)

we are coming to the ends. for Intel, they need to reduce the leakage or they will not be able to compete.

Re:Yet another reminder for naysayers... (1)

QuasiCoLtd (727325) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800127)

If I'm not mistaken whan't it Intel themselves that said that the theoretical limit was fast approaching?

Re:Yet another reminder for naysayers... (0)

OverclockedMind (730057) | more than 10 years ago | (#7801035)

"theoretical" remember all the "theoretical" limits of the past?

Re:Yet another reminder for naysayers... (1)

Wolfrider (856) | more than 10 years ago | (#7801634)

--Yeah, like Lightspeed... Oh wait...

Re:Yet another reminder for naysayers... (4, Insightful)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 10 years ago | (#7801257)

..who claim we're coming to the limits of silicon, and XXXX MHz is the highest that can be achieved. Technology will keep on advancing relentlessly, changing and adapting.

While technology could keep advancing for quite some time, that doesn't mean that advances will be economically feasible.

Take aircraft development, for example. The maximum speed advanced on a roughly exponential scale from 1903 through the mid 60s, culminating with an X-15 flight at around mach 6. Even today, researchers are tinkering around with models of aircraft faster than that. However, 99.99% of all passengers and cargo still move at the speed they did in 1960: about 500 mph. Why is this? Because fuel consumption and noise problems make it uneconomical to go faster than a 707. For air travel, every day reality has become decoupled from technological possiblity.

Likewise, CPU performance will almost certainly hit a wall where the power consumption makes it impractical for the average user to run more MIPS. Processor technology will continue to advance, but only for applications where power consumption is no object.

The problem is that when you can no longer target CPUs at the mass market, the potential revenue shrinks, so investment money dries up, slowing the development cycle. (This is a big part of the reason why 40 years after the X-15 and SR-71 we haven't come up with anything faster.) This will be the factor that ends exponential silicon CPU performance increases, even if there is no fundamental physical roadblock to producing faster processors.

Re:Yet another reminder for naysayers... (2, Insightful)

John Courtland (585609) | more than 10 years ago | (#7801872)

Or we'll get to the point where our processors contain cells, and each cell can be doled out "work units" to handle. Mass a bunch and you can complete more "work units" faster. Each "work unit" would probably be a thread, so that data could be collaborated easily. Maybe our programming models in the future wil be so totally different that processor design as we know it will be like looking at the horse and buggy today.

25th post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7799847)

whoop!

100 billion dollar chip market! (2, Interesting)

()vnorby() (732447) | more than 10 years ago | (#7799850)

The announcement, at the International Electron Devices Meeting in Washington DC last week, gives a glimpse into the intensely secretive way chip firms attempt to gain an edge over their competitors in a market worth over $100 billion a year. Chip market worth 100 billion dollars ? Wow. That is the thing that stood out for me in the article.

Re:100 billion dollar chip market! (3, Insightful)

MegaHamsterX (635632) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800859)

Then consider how much these chip fabs cost, last I read they were several billion dollars, so if the market is 100billion I don't know how this can really continue much further economicly.

Scientists, Engineers, Accountants, Lawyers, The Blue Man Group, you start to wonder how there is any room left for profit.

Way behind competitors still (5, Interesting)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 10 years ago | (#7799870)

Man made diamonds have much less problems handling heat and Intel is ignoring this while their competitors are on the fast track.

Still, Butler is frustrated with what he thinks of as myopia in the US computer business. "Europe and Japan have been investing in diamond semiconductor research," he says, citing the Japanese government's announcement in December that it would begin allocating $6 million a year to build a first-generation diamond chip. "Bob Linares has given the US the advantage, but nobody's paying any attention," he says. "If we're not careful, the Japanese or the Europeans are going to claim the diamond niche."

Indeed, Intel's top materials executives weren't aware of the latest research breakthroughs when I spoke to them in June, although they certainly understood the potential for diamonds in computing. "Diamonds represent a seismic change in semiconductors," says Krishnamurthy Soumyanath, Intel's director of communications circuits research. "It takes us about 10 years to evaluate a new material. We have a lot of investment in silicon. We're not about to abandon that."

Click here for full article. [wired.com]

Intel may be right (2, Interesting)

dus (139697) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800057)


Intel may be right on this one - they always have been conservative and this worked out very well for them. Large companies often wait for smaller companies to take the risk and prove or disprove the viablity of new tech. Nobody knows how well diamond is going to work out!

Remember GaAs?

Re:Way behind competitors still (5, Insightful)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800322)

It costs around 1.5 - 2.75 BILLION USD for a new chip fab. Intel isn't about to throw that away, they will just buy one of the smaller companies when/if the perfect this tech.

Re:Way behind competitors still (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7800480)

I'm also not aware of anyone who provides 18" diamond waffers in quantities larger than zero.

And the expense of developing a new generation of photoresists etc.

Re:Way behind competitors still (2, Interesting)

Epistax (544591) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800340)

In my New Employment Orientation (NEO) at Intel, they basically said ~The only way we'll ever get beat is by some minor startup nipping at our heel~. The jist of it is they said they will not get bogged down in old ways of doing things and will constantly change. Well I think the CEO needs to take NEO...

Re:Way behind competitors still (1)

Epistax (544591) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800363)

er New Employer Orientation. Not that it matters.

Re:Way behind competitors still (2, Insightful)

fullofangst (724732) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800385)

Man made diamonds have much less problems handling heat and Intel is ignoring this while their competitors are on the fast track
I'd wager they aren't ignoring it at all. Rather, Intel will be keeping any progress on such a jump in technology very, very closely guarded to their chest.

Re:Way behind competitors still (0, Flamebait)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800647)

I think Intel is secretly working on using diamond material in circuit design which may make possible a quantum leap in speeds for the CPU. Can you say 50 GHz clock speed for a CPU within six years? :-)

Re:Way behind competitors still (1)

Selecter (677480) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800927)

Yeah, thats great and all......but something has to change in the interface and imput dept. for that to mean anything at all. I think the usefullness of our methods of getting input into a computer ( think keyboard, think mouse ) are incredibly behind the times. Who is going to lead the music input and speech input wars? Thats what I wanna know. it's about time computer makers started worrying less about how many Ghz they can wring out and start bringing us some actual advancements in technology that MEAN something. Like being able to converse with your computer as freely as with another person, and the resulting 100X gain in productivity that would result.

Re:Way behind competitors still (0, Troll)

ProtonMotiveForce (267027) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800926)

Let's see, diamond products that will be to market anytime soon? Oh, wait, _ZERO_.

Strained silicon? _SEVERAL_.

Is there any kind of self editing process when you post like this? I mean, do you ever stop to think that maybe the severel people running the multibillion dollar company and the best technical minds in the industry just _may_ know a little more than you on this subject?

Or, more likely, you just read something, hear the vague sounds of a banjo playing in your head, and pound on the keyboard until something resembling a paragraph takes form?

Re:Way behind competitors still (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7801679)

Get laid and you won't be so uptight. Your right hand doesn't count.

Angry Troll Post - More Nukes for US (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7799883)

Fucking Americans. Stomping the rest of the world for pursuing nuclear technology, meanwhile you're increasing your own arsenal. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=20 26&ncid=2026&e=1&u=/latimes_ts/20031223/ts_latimes /observersfaultusforpursuingmininukes [yahoo.com]

Re:Angry Troll Post - More Nukes for US (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7800006)

Even though I'm an american, I support your angry troll post. Mini-nukes and 'pre-emptive defense'...Bush and his neo-cons are going to ruin the world.

Re:Angry Troll Post - More Nukes for US (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7801644)

Yup, it's out of control. Perhaps I should've written Fucking American Government. I've nothing against the American people, just the madness of your leaders.

I'm not straining... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7799906)

...to remember the last time this was posted.

old news.... (0)

liloconf (560960) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800035)

I've been able to Strain my chip in the bios for years....

And the competitors (5, Funny)

JanneM (7445) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800097)

In a response, AMD announced development of "stressed silicon", while VIA reportedly has only managed to "get their silicon slightly worried", according to one unnamed source. China, meanwhile, announced a multi-million dollar project to have silicon going into hysterics within five years.

That's nothing (2, Funny)

dus (139697) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800189)

Microsoft has been stressing silicon, including Intel's, for many years!

Strained.... (3, Funny)

vudu (223094) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800131)

Silicone? I was expecting a story about Pamela Anderson.

Damn.

Re:Strained.... (1)

Kelz (611260) | more than 10 years ago | (#7801627)

Yeah gotta get me some of that hardware.

PFET vs NFET (3, Informative)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800353)

Note that Intel improved the P channel devices 25% and the N channel devices 10%. Since N channel devices are usually 2 to 3 times stronger than P channel devices, this reduces the difference and makes CMOS design a little bit nicer.

news (2, Interesting)

ruiner5000 (241452) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800413)

Headline-Intel sees IBM and AMD tech doing well, decides to copy.

link [com.com]

Silicon on Insulator, Copper Interconnects, DDR memory, dual core, but not HyperTransport yet.

Re:news (1)

ProtonMotiveForce (267027) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800937)

Hehe, AMD. Yeah, look at all the money they're raking in - there's something to copy.

You also seem to be under the incorrect assumption that IBM or AMD "invented" any of those things. This is _truly_ funny considering AMD has (barely) eeked an existence out of basically COPYING/LICENSING OTHER PEOPLES' TECHNOLOGY. This is sure innovative, eh?

What is that (0, Redundant)

AvengerXP (660081) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800424)

Strained silicon? Sounds like used processors. Maybe strained silicon is only used to make Celerons.

Re:What is that (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800565)

If my silicon is always straining, should I dap a little Preperation H on the heat sinks?

secret? (1)

Jediman1138 (680354) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800539)

"Intel has taken the wraps off a secret technique it is using..."

Strained Silicon: Ancient Chinese Secret....

-gong-

Strained Silicon? (-1, Redundant)

Lobo_Louie (545789) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800599)

Jeez man, don't get such big implants, it stresses out that silicon...e.

Straining Silicon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7800697)

I thought straining silicon was how they got the impurities out.

World's Smallest (3, Funny)

DumbSwede (521261) | more than 10 years ago | (#7800903)

Sure strained silicon is great, but the real advance was the world's smallest colander.

Several technologies... (4, Informative)

NerveGas (168686) | more than 10 years ago | (#7801034)

There are several new technologies that either are speeding up chips, or will speed up chips, and the best part is that they'll all work together.

For some time, SOI (silicon-on-insulator) has been helping chip manufacturers squeeze out extra performance. And the straining of the silicon lattice (strained silicon) helps as well. And you can combine them into SSOI, strained-silicon-on-insulator.

Well, there's also one other technology that's been developed, called "fully depleted silicon". And guess what - it should/will be possible to make fully-depleted, strained silicon-on-insulator chips. (FDSSOI?)

Between moving to 90 nm, then 65nm, and then further, as well as integrating high-K dialectrics and fully-depleted, strained silicon-on-insulator manufacturing technologies, we've still got a lot of headroom to keep cranking out faster and faster processors. Moore's law has still got a long time to live. And that's even if we don't make any new breakthroughs, but my guess is that the chip makers will continue to pull aces out of their sleeves, so to speak.

steve

Interesting.... (-1, Troll)

NerveGas (168686) | more than 10 years ago | (#7801048)


It's interesting that Intel has, according to the article, been doing this since 2002, but just now dropped it on the market. Just like the "Extreme Edition" Pentium IV, this certainly seems like just another tactic to combat the fact that the Opteron, for most server uses, is beating the Xeon line very, very handily.

steve
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