CES 2008 — New Kind of Chip on the Vegas Strip

Building on a creative video monologue by PodTech’s Paul Lancour about the wonder of Intel’s latest 45-nanometer transistors, the Intel team doubled down at CES and took a new Penryn chip (a sliver of silicon etched with Intel’s newest dual core processor) to the Las Vegas strip and asked people “what do you think this is?”

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Here’s what people said when they held the chip inside the Intel booth at CES:

Intel and Sunflowers?

Making creative connections to expand and extend a story, that’s what the sunflower gig is all about.

Sunflowers, with the unique ability to pull lead and other metals from the dirt, improving the soil and environment, are a metaphor to promote Intel’s innovative new lead-free processors. Intel will donate $1 in your name to the Boys & Girls Club – find out how at sunflowers.intel.com.

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45nm…What Does It Mean?

A bit of theater antics about the transitor then, now and next. What’s amazing to engineers and techies often doesn’t carry a flicker of meaning for others. But sometimes it makes sense when the story is told in such a way using images and a little tongue in cheek. Bravo, Paul and the PodTech crew for your creativity and helping Intel celebrate the new era of the 45nm transistor. Moore’s Law is interesting when ou can look back, consider what’s happening now and wonder what’s to come.  Even my kids wanted to see this video again…and again.

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The World Inside Intel’s Newest Chip Fab

Flow through Intel’s newest 45nm chip factory, one of the cleanest places in the world spanning about 17 America football fields. See the many layers or floors of the factory and the automated shuttles whisking 300 millimeter wafers from one step to the next, ultimately ending up as brain chips running new consumer desktop and laptop computers in 2008 .

TIME Names Intel’s 45nm Chips in Best Innovations of 2007 List

Its tiny, shiny and about to change future computers. Intel’s new 45nm transistors were featured in the “Computers” category of TIME Magazine’s annual “Best Innovations of the Year” feature hitting newsstands tomorrow.

It didn’t beat out Apple’s iPhone, but it was picked among other top innovations like the $150 XO Laptop, flexible cell phone displays from Sony & LG. Philips, the WildCharger charging pad, Corning’s ClearCurve technology and Google Maps’ Street View. There were a dozen other categories of winners from health and automobiles to fashion and architecture.

820 million new Intel’s 45nm transistors will fit inside the first quad core processors hitting the market this month. Intel engineers add new elements to silicon, using a Hafnium-based high-k metal gate silicon technology that Gordon Moore called “the biggest change to how transistors are made in 40 years.”

These new, smaller on-off switches or engines will help make future PCs suck less energy while still improving performance with each new generation.

Here’s a warp-speed video showing the construction of a new Intel Fab in Arizona, where these new transistors will be made in maga-mass quantities.

A Chip is Born with 820 Million Pumpin’ New 45nm Transistors

It’s like those blockbuster movie reviews: “Sweet sensation!” “A thrill ride that rattled my bones and rocked my world!”

This week we got to see the first reviews of the soon-to-be-released Core 2 Extreme Edition designed with brand new Intel transistors. Manufactured in the new $3 billion high-volume Fab in Arizona, the new quad core processors:

  • are built using a new 45nm process technology based on Intel’s breakthrough in ‘reinventing’ certain areas of the transistors inside its processors to reduce energy leakage
  • have new smaller transistors (45nm vs. 65 nm) use a Hafnium-based high-k material for the gate dielectric and metal materials for the gate
  • have transistors that are so small that more than 2 million can fit on the period at the end of this sentence.
  • will be faster, more energy efficient compared to previous Extreme Edition generations, plus they’re lead- and halogen-free

You can read full reviews here. Some of coolest quotes:

“All signs point to, “Wow!”” — HardOCP

“The new Core 2 Extreme QX9650 is simply the fastest processor for gaming, media encoding and just about anything else you could do on your PC” — PC Perspective

“Less Noise, More Efficiency, More Speed and More Overclocking Potential!” — Tom’s Hardware

“Intel has pulled off a pretty remarkable achievement with the Core 2 Extreme QX9650’s…” — Firing Squad

“The Yorkfield-based Core 2 Extreme QX9650 is a success in every sense of the word” — Hot Hardware

“For now, the QX9650 represents the pinnacle of Intel desktop CPUs—and it’s simply the fastest desktop CPU on the market today” — Extremetech

See it in gaming action from this IDF video:

Here’s how the tiny, new transistors will make a big splash in future supercomputers:

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Facebook’s Value is Five Times the Price Tag of New Intel Chip Fab?

Lots of buzz about the the big investment in Facebook that set off calculation artists to figure the funnest site on the virtual planet is valued at $15 Billion. Wow! My advice: Don’t buy it!! Let it live, breathe and be free to grow…at least for a while longer.

Here’s something just announced today by the company I work for, Intel. Press release is pasted below. But my mind is swirling, connecting numbers. What do they really mean? At a cost of $3 Billion, Intel’s new Fab 32 chip making plant in Arizona is rapidly pumping out nearly a billion newly minted Intel transistors onto each multi-core chip coming out soon. OK, actually on the new quad core chips, it’s estimated to be about 840 million newly designed transistors built using Intel’s Hafnium-based high-k metal gate silicon technology.

Press Release from 10/25/06: Intel is opening its newest state-of-the-art microprocessor factory (called Fab 32) in Chandler, Ariz. as it prepares to ship its first 45nm processors on Nov. 12.

Context: Manufacturing capacity and modernization are key differentiators in today’s competitive market for microprocessors. Intel invests heavily in its global manufacturing network, including a $3 billion investment in Fab 32, to ensure it can meet the demands of the market, and is quickly ramping production on its 45nm process technology. Two more 45nm factories will open next year.

Relevance: With 1 million square feet and more than 1,000 employees, Fab 32 is Intel’s latest environmentally friendly factory that will manufacture tens of millions of the most energy-efficient processors the company has ever made. These processors are based on Intel’s groundbreaking transistors with Hafnium-based high-k metal gate silicon technology, the biggest change to how transistors are made in 40 years.

Here is a fun, educational animation shared during the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco last month. Following the animation is a video shot inside Intel’s fab and research facility in Oregon in January when Intel first showed working processors build with the new, smaller, energy-efficient transistors.

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Video — Intel Fab Tools Rockin’ the World

I’ve been inside only a few fabs shooting video. You suit up and step into another world, cleaner than anyplace on earth. The best part is talking with researchers and engineers who get to spend much of their time living inside and outside the fab. All of the movement and mysterious tools, many walled in behind glass. This video shows the 65nm process teams from different parts of the world, and looks ahead to 45nm circuitry process coming very soon. Several hundred of the new energy efficient, hafnium infused 45nm transistors can fit into a human red blood cell. These chip makers have advance from fitting millions to billions of transistors on a single chip since I joined Intel in 2000.