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Intel completes 32nm process development

Will produce even more energy-efficient, denser and higher performing transistors

Chip giant Intel has finished developing its next-generation 32 nanometer (nm) CPU circuitry manufacturing process. The company claims this process will allow it to produce even more energy-efficient, denser and higher performing transistors when compared to the existing 45nm manufacturing process.

“Our manufacturing prowess and resulting products have helped us widen our lead in computing performance and battery life for Intel-based laptops, servers and desktops,” said Mark Bohr, Intel Senior Fellow and director of process architecture and integration. “As we’ve shown this year, the manufacturing strategy and execution have also given us the ability to create entirely new product lines for MIDs, CE equipment, embedded computers and netbooks.”

The firm says the new transistors will be in production by the fourth quarter of 2009. The company plans to provide the technical details of the new process at the International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM), which is being held in San Francisco next week.

Intel follows a ‘tick-tock’ development model – introduced in 2007 - with regards to its processors. This model dictates that every ‘tick’ be a shrink of the process technology used to manufacture the chip, whilst a ‘tock’ represents a new micro architecture.

The recently released Core i7 family of processors are based on the Nehalem micro architecture and these chips are manufactured using a 45nm manufacturing process. This represented a ‘tock’ on Intel’s strategy roadmap.

As Intel will next year use the newer, smaller 32nm process to build Nehalem architecture Core i7 chips (codenamed Westmere), this will represent a ‘tick’. The next ‘tock’ will introduce a new micro architecture and chips using the new architecture are expected to carry the codename ‘Sandy Bridge’.

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