Proving Moore’s law (Intel co-founder Gordon Moore said that chip transistors were doubling every year since the invention of integrated circuit) in more ways than one, IBM has announced a new range of microchips that are not only the smallest but also the world’s most powerful so far.
According to a press release from the company, the test chips were a result of collaboration between IBM, Globalfoundaries and Samsung at SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. The discovery is expected to give a massive boost to computing power and the search for smaller chip measurements. For those who do not know the exact uses of a chip, it is like a small electronic brain -a processor (think Snapdragon, Intel, AMD etc) – inside all your electronic/computing devices.
The size of a fingernail, a single chip can accommodate more than 20 billion transistors and offers four times the capacity of any existing chip in the market. The key components in the chip were developed using germanium rather than silicon making it possible for even the smallest component to operate smoothly and without a hitch. The basic components of the chips are no wider than 7 nanometre.
So far only the prototypes have been prepared in the lab while research is being undertaken to explore their manufacturing requirements and viability. IBM has already promised to invest $3 billion in a New York state manufacturing plant to commercially produce the tiny chips in order to make them available on the market, earliest by 2017 to power future phones, tablets and devices, making them faster and more efficient.
Commenting on the discovery, Arvind Krishna, senior vice-president and director of IBM Research said, “For business and society to get the most out of tomorrow’s computers and devices, scaling to seven nm and beyond is essential.”
The chips are not expected to be ready for commercial product till a few more years. Intel on the other hand, is also working on a 10 nanometre chip which should see daylight in 2016.