Tech Tip of the Week: How Small is 32 Nanometers?

By on February 24, 2010, 4:58 AM
Earlier this year Intel made a big splash with a new generation of Core i3 and Core i5 processors using the uber small 32 nanometer manufacturing process. Although this is eventually going to get dumped as ancient technology for an even smaller and more efficient way to produce chips, today it's state of the art.

Intel recently published a whitepaper with some amusing 32nm facts that we are reproducing here for you. If you have ever wondered how small the logic inside these chips really is in 'measurable' terms, here are some random facts to give you some perspective:

  • A nanometer is so small that it takes a billion of them to make a meter. A billion is a huge number. A stack of a billion sheets of paper would be 100 km high. If you could walk a billion steps, you would go around the earth 20 times.
  • A 32nm transistor can switch on and off over 300 billion times in one second. It would take you 4000 years to flick a light switch on and off that many times.

Continue reading our Tech Tip of the Week.

User Comments: 19

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Decimae said:

They forgot too add the size of an atom! The size of an atom is averagely 0.25 nm, and wires consisting of atom are really hard to produce and the normal laws of resistance don't apply with those. If Moore's law is every two years the size of the transistor halves, and we assume we won't be able to make stable wires which are thinner than 4 atoms(which is likely) it won't apply in 2022.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I love seeing stuff like this - taking measurements of one sort of the other and putting it into a perspective anyone can understand. Amazing....

Docnoq said:

Damn slacking space industry.. if only they had kept up with their innovation like the rest of the technology sector!

skitzo_zac skitzo_zac, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Very novelty and a nice change of pace compared to all the other tech news.

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Seriously? 4 Million transistors would fit into the period at the end of a sentence? I can hardly imagine 10 of anything fitting into a space that small. Let alone several Million! Wow.

AtK SpAdE AtK SpAdE, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Very cool article!

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Nicely done Julio. I always enjoy stuff like this!

CMH, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Lol, Julio did copy all the facts off elsewhere (which was referenced in the article).

Should thank Intel instead

Anyways, I'm gonna go see how long it'll take me to flick that light switch....

kozman said:

I wonder how these are manufactured? NanoBots?

megrawab said:

We're getting modern and modern.. and technology gets more harder and harder. lol... 32 nanometers, 32*10^-9? Nice! I have to be a geek or a nerdy to be able to make core i3, what more if it's core i5...

JamesP said:

I wonder how these are manufactured? NanoBots?

By nanochinese

jobeard jobeard, TS Ambassador, said:

I wonder how these are manufactured? NanoBots?

nao-nao ... "Mork & Mindy"

zyodei said:

The 4 million in the period on a screen bit really blew my mind...

Thompson said:

My mind = BLOWN

JMMD JMMD, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

It's pretty amazing how far this technology has come. Just trying to imagine some of these numbers give me a headache, I can't even begin to think about the technology 10 or 20 years from now.

chuchu232 said:

My god, thats small! I doubt the whole period thing though considering im using an iphone at the moment. now if i zoom in... thats better

CMH, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Still flicking light switches....

buttus said:

that's VERY small. Wow. I wonder where the theoretical limit is though for reducing die size?

sagejay said:

yes it's indeed quite small, I'm pretty sure, soon enough there's going to be super small camera and everything, technology is starting to scare me

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