Intel CEO Otellini Shows Off 22-Nm Processor

At the Intel Developer Forum, Intel CEO Paul Otellini shows off test processors built on the chip maker's 22-nanometer manufacturing process. Intel plans to release the 22-nm processors toward the end of 2011. The demonstration comes as Intel is preparing for the fourth-quarter release of its 32-nm processors code-named Westmere.

SAN FRANCISCO-Intel, which Sept. 14 announced that its 32-nanometer processors were in production, is showing off the next-generation 22-nm processors scheduled to ship to customers toward the end of 2011.

At his keynote speech Sept. 22 at the Intel Developer Forum here, Intel CEO Paul Otellini held up a wafer showing the 22-nm SRAM (static RAM) test chips.

"This is the first working 22-nanometer silicon technology," Otellini said to about 4,000 IDF attendees. "At Intel, Moore's Law is alive and well."

The SRAM chips-which normally are used as test devices to show such metrics as performance and chip reliability-contain more than 2.9 billion transistors in an area the size of a fingernail, according to Intel.

The 22-nm chips will use the third generation of Intel's high-k metal gate transistors, which help further reduce electricity leakage.

According to Otellini, the second-generation high-k metal gate in the 32-nm "Westmere" chip reduces leakage by about 30 times over the current 45-nm technology.

The 22-nm chip was part of a larger message from Otellini surrounding what he called a continuum for the chip maker as it continues its move away from traditional PCs and servers and into such areas as handheld products and mobile Internet devices, or MIDs.

As Intel continues to shrink the silicon, the more features it can add to the chip and the more performance the company can get out of it.

This approach seems to be working, he said. Already Intel has sold more than 200 million of its current 45-nm processors, and Otellini said he expects better from its 32-nm Westmere processors, which will launch later in 2009. The next-generation of the 32-nm processors, "Sandy Bridge," will come out in late 2010.

Intel has moved ahead of rival Advanced Micro Devices, which isn't due to release its first 32-nm processors until 2011. However, AMD officials said the manufacturing process is less important to them now that the company has spun off its manufacturing business to create Globalfoundries.

Now AMD's focus is on designs and platforms, said John Fruehe, director of business development for AMD's servers and workstation division, calling that a key differentiator.

"People don't buy nanometers," Fruehe said during a briefing at a hotel nearby the IDF event at the Moscone Center. "They buy the platform for performance, power and scalability. ... That's what we give them."