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Colossus Constructs Tinier Chips

The Associated Press:

In the latest display of its manufacturing might, Intel Corp. is opening a new $3 billion factory in Arizona, widening its lead over rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. in the industry's switch to a new chip-making technique.

A major update to the Core 2 Duo line will be released in the next few months. They'll all be 45 nanometer processors. How small is 45 nanometers?

The transistors on such chips are so small that more than 30 million can fit onto the head of a pin.

Whenever I read of such marvels, a questions pops up. Where will it stop? We'll hit a brick wall with scaling and move on to constructing special materials (which likely don't even exist yet) that will continue to improve raw performance.


Cafe Alpha

These chips have a very limited number of layers, so there's a hell of a lot of space left over in the 3rd dimension!

Volumetric chips, you could call them.


Problem is heat build up. Once you start building layers, it becomes pretty darn difficult to remove heat from the lower layers. Ofcourse, that's were multiple dies operating as independent cores could be useful - you could sandwich a watercooling apparatus between two, three, or twenty physical dies, each of which contains up to 4 physical processors. It would make for a more expensive computer overall, but it'd allow you to build the CPU up in the third dimension.

Cafe Alpha

I thought the problem was that they rely on the silicon itself to make the actual transistors, so you can't have one transistor on top of another with that technology.

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