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Intel moves up debut of billion-transistor chip

Posted: 19 Jul 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:intel? moore's law? transistor? integrated circuit? dram?

Not only does Intel Corp., the world's largest chipmaker, believe Moore's Law is alive and well, it is aiming to deliver a billion-transistor chip in 2005, rather than the original target date of 2007.

The accelerated introduction of the billion-transistor integrated circuit was discussed by Jai Hakhu, vice president of Intel's Technology Manufacturing Group, during a conference organized by Merrill Lynch at the annual Semicon West exhibition here on Wednesday (July 14, 2004).

"The goal was a billion transistors in 2007. The [new] goal is a billion transistors in 2005," said Hakhu "This has been advanced by a couple of years," added Hakhu, without elaborating on which Intel chip would reach the milestone first.

In fact, 1 billion transistors has already been reached in high-capacity DRAM memories. One gigabit is conventionally 1,073,741,824 bits, and each bit is stored using a transistor and a capacitor. However, the more demanding and prestigious milestone will come when a billion-transistor digital logic chip enters volume production.

While several chip makers might aim for 1 billion transistors, many complex logic chips are likely to have large areas of on-chip memory, making transistor counting a contentious issue. With its 2005 goal and its manufacturing prowess, Intel appears determined to be first to reach the milestone.

Hakhu, who is responsible for worldwide capital equipment development, procurement and automation, said immersion lithography still holds great interest for Intel as it continues to work on extreme ultraviolet lithography.

Echoing comments made in June Hakhu said: "We're following immersion with very close interest. I think all of us will use it."

Hakhu said most lithography suppliers were working on immersion. "If it works, we're going to use it. We still need to see . . . proof."

Hakhu added that Intel has made a series of investments in companies such as Cymer Inc., Media Lario and Nikon Corp. to facilitate EUV research aimed at developing a production tool. "The fundamental thing is the power source. We're investing in these suppliers to make sure" it can be developed.

- Peter Clarke

Silicon Strategies





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