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Intel Technology Hardware

Intel Designs Faster, 3D Transistor 141

lee1 writes "Intel has found a way to keep on the Moore's Law track by making smaller, faster and lower-power computer chips by building 3D transistors. They are already manufacturing microprocessors using this new design, called a FINFET (for fin field-effect transistor), which incorporates a small pillar, or fin, of silicon that sticks up above the surface of the chip. Intel said that it expected to be able to make chips that run as much as 37 percent faster in low-voltage applications and use as much as 50 percent less power. Products based on the new technology may appear some time later this year."
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Intel Designs Faster, 3D Transistor

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  • Re:37% faster! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2011 @04:24PM (#36028332)

    The i5-2500K is $230 for $15 less you can get a Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition. Depending on what you are doing, say encoding video the Phenom is the way to go. Your best by far price/performance is just fanboy talk.

  • Re:37% faster! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by smelch ( 1988698 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2011 @04:28PM (#36028384)
    I bought one of those Phenom II X6 1100T Black Editions. Having six cores is pretty nice when you run a web server, file server and capture video and play starcraft II at the same time. I got blasted for not going intel, but I've had no problems at all with it and the chip was pretty cheap.
  • by slew ( 2918 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2011 @05:34PM (#36029118)

    Haven't transistors always been 3D? You may draw them 2D in layout, but it's still a gate sitting on top of a channel with stacks of metal... it has L x W x H. I think that's called 3D. Silly Intel marketing.

    Actually integrated transistors have been "planar" for the most part (although there have been "vfets" and other types of 3d channels in the past)...

    In planar transistors, the field that chokes off the source/drain path has been mediated by a gate which is just on top of the channel on one plane. Imagine an iron on of a ironing board heating it up the board when you turn it on. Although the ironing board and the iron are both 3-dimensional objects, the interface in a "plane" and the heat diffuses across this plane. In this analogy with a planar transistor, the channel is dug into in the ironing board and the iron is the gate.

    In finFET, the gate surrounds the channel on 3 side. Imagine now a tube on an ironing board and the iron has a notch cut in it so the iron surrounds the tube on three side. When you turn on the iron, heat diffuses across all around the notch instead of interfacing on 1 plane. This is "3D" or finFET instead of planar. In this analogy with a finFET transistor, the channel is the tube on the ironing board and the iron with a notch is the gate.

    As you might imagine, the finFET architecture should have a better capability to turn on and off the channel since there is field is wrapping around the channel instead of just being applied to one side (okay that's simplification, but you get the idea).

    Intel took, this finFET idea and added another twist with a "3", called tri-gate (or tri-channel depending on your point of view). This congolomeration of two independent ideas that both revolve around the number 3 is the kind of thing that drives marketing people to be silly ;^)

    And for those that don't understand w/o a car analogy, imagine the difference in traction you get with bald tires on ice (planar where tire is the gate and ice is the channel), vs snow tires on dirt (finFET where the tire is the gate and dirt is the channel)...

I go on working for the same reason a hen goes on laying eggs. -- H.L. Mencken