Next computing wave – Intel unveils 22nm 3-D Tri-Gate chips

23 Apr 2012

Intel has taken the wraps of its latest game-changing third generation of Intel Core processors developed on 22nm manufacturing process using 3-D tri-gate transistors. The new chips, ready for desktop, notebook and ultrabooks, promise twice the HD media and 3D graphics performance.

The new third generation Intel Core chips – up until now code-named ‘Ivy Bridge’ – will significantly speed up the creation and editing of photos, surfing the web, watching HD movies and gaming.

The processors are understood to extend Intel microprocessor performance by as much as 20pc.

The chip giant, which employs approximately 4,000 people in Ireland, will be bringing on stream a number of new third generation Intel Core chips in the coming months for servers and intelligent systems to serve the data centre, healthcare and e-commerce industries.

“The 3rd generation Intel Core processors were created from the ground up to generate exciting new experiences,” said Kirk Skaugen, Intel vice president and general manager of the PC Client Group.

“Our engineers have exceeded our expectations by doubling the performance of media and graphics versus the best processors we’ve built until today, which means incredible new visual experiences are here for new all-in-one PCs and upcoming Ultrabook devices.

“What makes all this possible is the combination of Intel’s leading manufacturing and processor architecture, and our unwavering commitment to drive computing innovations forward,” Skaugen said.

Intel explained that until now computers, servers and other devices have used only two-dimensional planar transistors. Adding a third dimension to transistors allows Intel to increase transistor density and put more capabilities into every square millimeter of these new processors.

Ticking the box

Intel has once again re-invented the transistor and delivered an unprecedented combination of performance and energy efficiency, thus sustaining the pace of technology advancement and fueling Moore’s Law for years to come.

Intel engineers also reworked the graphics architecture of the 3rd generation Intel Core processors, helping to deliver dramatic improvements in the overall visual experience. Changing the chips’ architecture while at the same time shrinking the size of the underlying transistors is an acceleration of Intel’s “tick-tock” model.

Previously, the company adhered to a strict “tick-tock” model in which a new manufacturing process was introduced in 1 year (the “tick”), and the architecture of the chip (the “tock”) was altered the next.

The ability to accelerate the roadmap and change both the chips’ architecture and the manufacturing process at the same time was made possible because Intel is one of the few companies that both designs and manufactures its chips, a method called Integrated Device Manufacturing.

Security features of new chip generation

Another exciting new facet of the third generation is the range of new security features, including Intel Secure Key and Intel OS Guard to safeguard personal data and identity.

Intel Secure Key consists of a digital random number generator that creates truly random numbers to strengthen encryption algorithms.

Intel OS Guard helps defend against privilege escalation attacks where a hacker remotely takes over another person’s system.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years