Intel Remixes Chip Recipe to Cut Power
The chipmaker will add, in 2007, a new manufacturing process aimed helping it cook up low power chips.Intel Corp. plans to begin cutting the power consumption of its chips right at the factory. The chip giant will on Tuesday unveil a plan to create an alternate version of its manufacturing process technologythe means by which it knits together the transistors that make up the circuits inside its chipsdesigned to yield more power-efficient processors and supporting chipsets for notebooks, handhelds and other battery-powered devices. Intel, which at one time focused much of its efforts on building faster and faster processorschips that inevitably also used more powerhas taken a new path of late, announcing plans to deliver less power-hungry processors within all of its x86 product lines, including desktop, notebook and server chips, in 2006. By the end of the decade, the company has said it will deliver chips that use even less power for handheld devices. It intends the alternate manufacturing process to dovetail with the low-power chip design efforts.
The new process, which is based on P1264 or Intels 65-nanometer manufacturing technology thats due to come on line later this year, tweaks the way transistorsthe tiny on/off switches inside its chipsas well as the wires that connect them, are formed. The changes, which include steps such as thinning the wires slightly and thickening the layers of material that insulate a part of the transistor known as the gate, help cut down on leakage or electricity that slips past after a transistor switches off, Intel representatives said.