Spectrum: Intel says transistors produced in this way will be cheaper than those that came before, continuing the decades-long trend at the heart of Moore’s Law—and contradicting widespread talk that transistor-production costs have already sunk as low as they will go. By Rachel Courtland
'In the coming years, Intel plans to make further improvements to the design of these transistors. And, for the first time, the company will optimize its manufacturing technology to accommodate other companies that wish to use Intel’s facilities to produce chips based on ARM architecture, which is nearly ubiquitous in modern mobile processors.
'Although it wasn’t always the case, today there is little about the name of a chip-manufacturing generation, or “node,” that aligns with the dimension of any particular feature on a chip. But the transistors on Intel’s 10-nm generation will still be denser than those on today’s 14-nm chips—as well as other companies’ 10-nm offerings, says Intel senior fellow Mark Bohr. Intel has released few figures to date on the dimensions of the new generation. But both the length of transistor gates, which turn transistors on and off, and the distance from one gate to the next—a figure known as gate pitch—will be smaller this time around. The minimum gate pitch will go from 70 nm to 54 nm. And logic cells—transistor combinations used to perform standard logic functions—can be less than 46 percent the size of those built on 14-nm technology.'