Intel’s current lineup of desktop and laptop processors are currently being built with a 45nm process, a process which AMD is only now catching up with. It appears however that the race continues as Intel plans to unveil its new 32nm process technology on December 15th at the International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM). 32nm might sound like nothing new, and in actuality the technology was first showcased back in 2007. At the time however, little was revealed and the company didn’t give many details as to the process itself. According to recent information Intel will share the specifics for the first time at IDEM and we expect to hear an announcement on new processors as well. The first platform is is rumored to be codenamed ‘Westmere’ which should hit the market in late 2009. Westmere however, is expected to be little more than a die shrink of Nehalem.
New features of the 32nm manufacturing process are expected to include second-generation high-k/metal gate technology, and nine levels of low-k interconnect dielectrics. According to the EE Times, Intel tested its new process by building a 32nm, 291-Mbit SRAM array test chip which has a cell size of 0.171-micron2. It houses over 2 billion transistors and has an array density of 4.2-Mbit2. The chip managed to run at an impressive 3.8 GHz while requiring only a meager 1.1v. Given the amount of time Intel has been working on this process experts expect commercialization next year to be highly plausible. The die shrinks will have the greatest benefits for mobile computing as it will boot performance while lowering the voltage requirements and the amount of heat generated. The future for mobile computing is bright indeed.