Intel 45nm CPUs to use metal gates, high-k dielectric

One step ahead of the competition


Intel's 45nm microprocessors will incorporate transistors constructed with metal gates and high-k dielectric materials, the chip maker revealed today. That said, it was tight-lipped about which materials will actually make up these components in its 45nm dual-core die, 'Penryn'.

Penryn's transistors use a metal in place of the polysilicon material that controls the flow of current through today's transistors. And where standard processor transistors separate the gate from the source and drain, and the silicon substrate all these elements are mounted on, Penryn's transistors will use a high-k oxide.

intel's 45nm metal-gate, high-k transistor

The upshot, Intel claimed, was a "significant performance increase and leakage reduction" - less power is required to switch the flow of electrons through the transistor on and off. Leakage - the flow of current outside the transistor - is reduced, Intel said, because the use of a high-k material means the oxide layer can be thicker than is currently the case, making it harder for electrons to leak through. The high-k material is derived from Hafnium, but Intel would say no more.

It said the new transistor construction will see source-drain leakage reduced fivefold and gate oxide leakage tenfold. Or Intel can opt to raise the drive current 20 per cent, boosting the transistor's switch speed, which essentially means faster processing. Those figures are relative to a standard transistor rather than the design implemented in Intel's 65nm transistors, which included a low-k gate oxide.

Intel also claimed the metal gate and high-k combo would yield around a 30 per cent reduction in the power needed to switch the transistor.

Intel has been working on high-k dielectrics since 2003 at the very least, though it's a technique arch-rival AMD has in the past poo-poo'd. It has put its faith in silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology and a three-gate transistor design.


Other stories you might like

  • NASA delays SLS rollback due to concerns over rocky path to launchpad
    The road to the Moon is paved with... river rock?

    NASA's Moon rocket is to trundle back into its shed today after a delay caused by concerns over the crawlerway.

    The massive transporter used to move the Space Launch System between Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) and launchpad requires a level pathway and teams have been working on the inclined pathway leading to the launchpad where the rocket currently resides to ensure there is an even distribution of rocks to support the mobile launcher and rocket.

    The latest wet dress rehearsal was completed on June 20 after engineers "masked" data from sensors that would have called a halt to proceedings. Once back in the VAB, engineers plan to replace a seal on the quick disconnect of the tail service mast umbilical. The stack will then roll back to the launchpad for what NASA fervently hopes is the last time before a long hoped-for launch in late August.

    Continue reading
  • Datacenter operator Switch hit with claims it misled investors over $11b buyout
    Complainants say financial projections were not disclosed, rendering SEC filing false and misleading

    Datacenter operator Switch Inc is being sued by investors over claims that it did not disclose key financial details when pursuing an $11 billion deal with DigitalBridge Group and IFM Investors that will see the company taken into private ownership if it goes ahead.

    Two separate cases have been filed this week by shareholders Marc Waterman and Denise Redfield in the Federal Court in New York. The filings contain very similar claims that a proxy statement filed by Switch with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in regard to the proposed deal omitted material information regarding Switch's financial projections.

    Both Redfield and Waterman have asked the Federal Court to put the deal on hold, or to undo it in the event that Switch manages in the meantime to close the transaction, and to order Switch to issue a new proxy statement that sets out all the relevant material information.

    Continue reading
  • Google to pay $90m to settle lawsuit over anti-competitive behavior on the Play Store
    US developers that qualify could receive more than $200,000

    Google is to pay $90 million to settle a class-action lawsuit with US developers over alleged anti-competitive behavior regarding the Google Play Store.

    Eligible for a share in the $90 million fund are US developers who earned two million dollars or less in annual revenue through Google Play between 2016 and 2021. "A vast majority of US developers who earned revenue through Google Play will be eligible to receive money from this fund," said Google.

    Law firm Hagens Berman announced the settlement this morning, having been one of the first to file a class case. The legal firm was one of four that secured a $100 million settlement from Apple in 2021 for US iOS developers.

    Continue reading
  • Devops tool Jenkins now requires Java 11: This might sting a bit
    Final shift set for version 2.357 of developer automation platform

    It has taken a while, but the Jenkins project confirmed this week that Java 11 will be required from this week's Jenkins 2.357 and for the upcoming September LTS release.

    Jenkins, originally authored by Kohsuke Kawaguchi, recently passed its 10th anniversary. Originally known as Hudson, before the Oracle / Sun deal resulted in a fork, the platform is a veteran of the continuous integration and continuous delivery world. It is also written in Java.

    It's going to be a bit of a wrench. Java 11 itself was released in 2018 as a long-term support version, and the Jenkins LTS core has been Java 11-capable for a while now. The June LTS also supports Java 17 (the latest LTS of Java SE.)

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022