IBM leaps ahead of Intel

IBM engineers in a fabrication plant (fab)IBM said that a collaboration between it, Samsung, SUNY Poly and Global Foundries (GloFo) has created a seven nanometre chip with working transistors.

That’a a heap ahead of Intel, which hasn’t so far demonstrated that it has such technology.

The breakthrough, said IBM, could mean 20 billion transistors could be placed on chips the size of a human fingernail.

The researchers said they bypassed conventional semiconductor manufacturing wisdom and instead produced a number of breakthroughs including Silicon Germanium (SiGe) channel transistors and Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) lithography at multiple levels.

Last week, IBM span off its semiconductor division to GloFo but it still has a research agenda for chips and is pushing its Power platform.

Currently servers use 22 nanometre and 14 nanometre technology and, said IBM, 10 nanmetre technology is close to becoming a mature technology.

IBM believes that once seven nanometre processors roll out of the fabs, they could contribute to a 50 percent power/performance improvement for mainframe and power systems.

IBM and SUNY Poly have a research centre at the Albany NanoTech Complex which has a half a billion dollar project.