Intel Unveils Future Energy-Saving Technology
The company Wednesday will announce a future chip manufacturing process that will reduce the energy needed for to run notebook computers.Smaller is better, certainly for notebook computers and their processors. However, the bane of low-power chips has been "current leakage," a problem that drains away much of the energy-savings on smaller processors. Intel Corp. engineers on Thursday will announce a "breakthrough" aimed at minimizing this current leakage at the International Workshop on Gate Insulator 2003 in Tokyo. The new improvements will be introduced into Intels lines when it begins manufacturing microprocessors with a 45-nanometer process, sometime in 2007, according to company officials. At that time, the use of a high-dielectric-constant (or high-k) material will help prevent battery packs from draining their charge when not being used.
Intels announcement of a solution to the leakage problem follows rival Transmeta Corp.s recent demonstrations of low-power processors. Transmeta designed its Crusoe chips to minimize power. The company last month disclosed LongRun2, a technology to minimize leakage current that combines hardware, software and an improved manufacturing process. LongRun2 is due out in mid-2004 and will be used in the Efficeon family of processors, according to Kenn Durrance, a spokesman for Transmeta.