Intel and 45nm technology breakthrough

Intel is hogging the silicon limelight with it’s news on the technology breakthrough - usage of high-k and metal gate transistors for 45nm technology.

Scaling without losing out much on leakage is the driving advantage. The major advantage, though, is that with this technique, Intel will not have to significantly change its current production process. This is different from the alternative solution being disclosed by IBM and its partners. The latter involves SOI which is a more expensive production technique and they plan to later switch to immersion lithography. Another lead for Intel is that the production with this new technique starts mid this year whereas IBM plans production in end 2008.

Having said that, it still appears that while Intel has stolen the lead in announcing the breakthrough with earlier production planned (and that too across servers, desktops and laptop applications), IBM will have a long term advantage as its technology involves integration of the metal gates so that they are embedded in silicon as compared to Intel where they sit atop a proven silicon architecture – thus solving long range problems and more future transitions.

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