Intel's tri-gate technology makes advances

By Justin Mann on
One of the biggest problems that all CPU manufacturers face is power consumption, both in the amount of power it takes to do particular operations and the amount of power wasted while a CPU works. Even though we have "ultra-low-voltage" CPU models and mobile laptop CPUs that give us incredible performance, the power draw of processors continues to climb. In some modern CPUs, leakage accounts for more than half of power consumed. Now that's just wasteful. Intel is currently working on a technology that aims to solve those problems. “Tri-gate” transistors as they are called is a design of transistor that uses three gates instead of one.

This allows it to handle more current and move current through different paths, depending what is more efficient. Though the technology is not refined enough yet for mass production, it promises to give us a CPU that could cut the amount of power loss in half while at the same time improving performance. The first such set of CPUs made around this wouldn't be able to come until at least 2009, when chips of a 32nm process are expected to be around. Ultimately, this could spread to many other CPUs and ICs, and give us machines that drastically reduce the amount of power they need. While the idea has been around for a while, it wasn't until just recently that Intel has made advances enough to the point where it can be demonstrated for proper use.

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