High Speed, Low Power: Intel’s newest chips deliver speed and efficiency

By Allan Harris and Corey Conley

Intel’s Tri-Gate 3D “Ivy-Bridge” processors are going to be the world’s first ever three dimensional transistors. These transistors are built with a three dimensional design, conducting channels from three sides along a “fin” – a major advancement over current transistor technology.

How does it work? Any computer processor works by rapidly turning off and on voltage. The faster and more efficiently you can turn it on and off, the faster your processor. A Tri-Gate’s fin allows a greater control area versus a conventional “flat” chip.

Intel Tri-gate processor

This new design allows the chips to operate with lower voltage and there are lesser leakages of conducted electrons. Intel claims the 3D chip has a 37% increase in performance and at lower prices compared to those of the previous generation – on top of the improved performance. This will improve the switching characteristics and produce a higher current.

Intel’s Tri-gate 3D Processors Defying Moore’s Law

Those in computing are well aware of “Moore’s Law,” which states that computing power will double approximately every 18 months. It’s held true for decades, but until Intel’s tri-gate, there’s been a catch: we can only carve so many transistors onto a single chip before we reach the physical limits of how small transistors can be. At 22 nanometer, the Tri-Gates have as small transistors as possible, but with Tri-Gate, Intel has forestalled breaking Moore’s law by at least two years.

The big news is the push this will give Intel into the mobile-devices market. With energy at a premium for battery powered devices, the Tri-gate design is perfect for Intel’s “Atom” line of mobile procs. Expect to see Tri-Gates in tablets, smart phones, and other small devices until the competition catches up.

Greater Efficiency With Tri-gate Processors

The creation of the Tri Gate processor is considered an important step to improve performance and efficiency of the next generation processors. At the same time, Intel will create quite a lot of competition among technological competitors worldwide. As mobile devices keep getting smaller, more leakage and quality of processing issues are common – the Tri-Gate will put an end to many of these problems, at least until we want even more from our phones.

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