Chip circuits shrinking faster than expected

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) released the 2001 edition of its International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) on Wednesday, calling for a more aggressive push to smaller circuit sizes than previously planned.

While the majority of today's PCs use processors with a circuit size of either 180 nanometers (0.18 microns) or 130 nanometers (0.13 microns), the new roadmap shows the industry planning to deliver 90 nanometer circuits by 2004, and 22 nanometer circuits by 2016, the SIA said in a statement.

To put that into perspective, the width of a human hair is about 100,000 nanometers. Shrinking the size of circuits has been largely responsible for the dramatic improvements in chip performance over the past decade.

These figures surpass the organization's previous roadmap, released in 1999, which called for 100-nanometer circuits by 2005, shrinking to 35 nanometers by 2014.

As circuits shrink, the performance of chips can be increased without greatly increasing power consumption or the amount of heat generated. Companies can also get more chips from each silicon wafer by using a smaller process, which helps them keep prices lower. Intel said earlier this year that the 0.13-micron manufacturing process allows it to cut approximately twice as many chips as the 0.18-micron process from a wafer of the same size.

The ITRS roadmap looks 15 years into the future, and provides the industry with guidance about what to plan for in the future. It's arrived at by consulting 800 semiconductor experts from around the world, the SIA said.

"In the past, this has been a major synchronization method for the industry," said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst with consultancy Insight 64 in Saratoga, California. "You can do things that aren't on that roadmap for sure, but you would be swimming against the tide."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Douglas F. Gray

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?