Intel on Monday announced that it has made a fundamental change in the way that it makes microprocessors: It is creating transistors with new materials, leading to huge performance increases, along with corresponding reductions in power consumption, current leakage, and size. The new microprocessors will ship in a smaller new 45nm manufacturing process, compared to today's most modern chips, which utilize a larger 65nm process.
"I congratulate the Intel teams for this breakthrough achievement," said Intel president and CEO Paul Otellini. "Best yet, this feat, coupled with our industry-leading architectures, means faster and sleeker computers, longer battery life and better energy efficiency. Our objective is to bring consumers a new class of computers delivering a full Internet experience in ever-smaller, more portable form factors."
The breakthrough isn't theoretical: Intel today announced 16 new microprocessors based on the new manufacturing process, the first of which will go on sale before the end of the year. These chips, not surprisingly, will be high-end server and workstation-class microprocessors, but Intel will soon ship mainstream desktop and mobile PC chips based on this technology as well.
Intel's new chips, which went by the codename Penryn during development, are the first to utilize Hafnium instead of the more typical silicon, in order to fit more transistors in a smaller space.