3D, 22 nm: Combining Performance and Power Efficiency
In 2011 Intel led the industry with the introduction of a fundamentally different technology for microprocessor families: 3D transistors manufactured at 22 nm.
Previously, transistors, the core of microprocessors, were 2D (planar) devices. The Intel® 3D tri-gate transistor, and the ability to manufacture it in high volume, mark a dramatic change in the fundamental structure of the computer chip. Raising the transistor channel into the third dimension improved control of the transistor, maximizing current flow (for best performance) when it is on, and minimizing it (reducing leakage) when it is off.
These transistors enabled Intel to continue to power world class products, from the fast supercomputers to very small mobile handhelds.
Transistors Are Fundamental
Transistor size and structure are a key technology pillar of delivering the benefits of Moore's Law to the end user. The smaller and more power efficient the transistor, generally the better. Intel continues to predictably shrink its manufacturing technology in a series of world firsts: 45 nm with high-k/metal gate in 2007; 32 nm in 2009; and now 22 nm with the world's first 3D transistor in a high volume logic process beginning in 2011; and 14 nm with 2nd Generation 3D tri-gate transistors in 2014.
Continuous transistor technology advancements, enable Intel to design even more powerful processors with incredible power efficiency. New processors enable innovative microarchitectures, System on Chip (SoC) designs, and new products—from servers and PCs to smartphones, and innovative consumer products.
Get a Glimpse of How Intel Makes 22 nm Chips from Silicon
Transistors in the 3rd Dimension
The Intel® 3D tri-gate transistor uses three gates wrapped around the silicon channel in a 3D structure, enabling an unprecedented combination of performance and energy efficiency. Intel designed the 3D tri-gate transistor to provide unique ultra-low power benefits for use in handheld devices, like smart phones and tablets, while also delivering improved performance normally expected for high-end processors.
3rd Generation Intel® Core™ Processor
Introduced at the end of 2011, the 3rd Generation Intel® Core™ processor was the first high-volume chip to use 3D transistors.