Chip startup SuVolta touts low power transistor breakthrough

By on June 6, 2011, 8:00 AM

When it comes to portable devices and mobile computing, power consumption is a critical factor that can make or break a product. There has been some notable progress towards all-day battery life in recent times as manufacturers shrink semiconductor circuitry, and now a start-up by the name of SuVolta is also taking on the challenge of energy-efficient chips with transistor and circuit designs that promise to reduce power consumption by 50%.

There are not many details about the technology itself but apparently it involves a new type of transistors that minimize the voltage variations needed to switch them on or off, reducing current leakage by around 50%. This in turn drastically reduces the amount of energy that turns into heat and must be dissipated as microchips crunch data.

Rather than making the chips themselves, SuVolta will be licensing its technology to third parties, and according to the company it will be easily implemented in factories as the technology won't require any major changes to their current chip making process. So far the company has only built a 65nm SRAM device in a Fujitsu fab applying its technology as a proof of concept, but it has seen promising early test results implementing it at 28nm.

Intel recently said it would shift to a new three-dimensional structure in its upcoming chips to boost performance while keeping power consumption down. SuVolta believes it can help other chipmakers achieve similar power savings without such a radical change in manufacturing or multi-million investments in new manufacturing facilities.

A company using SuVolta's technology could theoretically lag a couple of steps behind in its manufacturing technology but still make chips that are roughly as energy efficient as those built on the latest architecture shrink.

Fujitsu is already signed on as their first customer and will ship the first products using SuVolta's technology sometime late next year. Others such as Broadcom and Cypress have also expressed interest in the new venture, which has the backing of several key figures in the tech world, including three former Intel executives that worked on production processes and a handful of Silicon Valley's veteran VCs.




User Comments: 6

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MrAnderson said:

I wonder if this will apply to GPU designs too. If yes, this could be a solution for Nvidia, AMD, and others that that have to wait for the major shrinks the were previouly hoping for and this alter chip designs to compensate.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

AMD might want to seriously consider this for its continuing quest to battle Intel... If it can give comparable power saving and efficiencies to Intel's 3D transistors, the playing fields might be leveled out dramatically when Intel brings that new tech to the market.

Tanstar said:

What happens if you incorporate this technology into Intel's 3D design?

Zecias said:

Tanstar said:

What happens if you incorporate this technology into Intel's 3D design?

this.

50% reduction in power consumption from this, and 50% from tri-gate transistors = uber overclocking?

Zecias said:

Tanstar said:

What happens if you incorporate this technology into Intel's 3D design?

this.

50% reduction in power consumption from this, and 50% from tri-gate transistors = uber overclocking?

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

this.

50% reduction in power consumption from this, and 50% from tri-gate transistors = uber overclocking?

Is that 50% of the remaining 50% or 50% percent of the original 100% percent? I'm wondering because 50 and 50 equal 100, so that would mean "uber overclocking" with no power consumption at all.

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