Intel’s future bet for performance: stacked transistors

AMD’s 3D Stacking not so far, but Intel provided a window into where CPU technology could go next: stacking transistors.

Intel’s research components team announced a roadmap for the next ten years at a conference in San Francisco. One of the company’s new innovations is a research paper on a method of stacking transistors, which Intel argues could improve transistor density by up to 50%.

Processor chips have traditionally been flat, with all the transistors in line with each other. The new method of stacking chicklets adds to an existing design to increase the number of transistors without requiring a larger surface area.

“By stacking devices directly on top of each other, we are clearly saving space,” said Paul Fischer, Director and Senior Principal Engineer at Intel’s Components Research Group, told Reuters. “We are reducing connection lengths and really saving energy, making this not only more cost-effective, but also perform better.”

Current chips are based on two types of transistors placed side-by-side, but by linking the transistors on top of each other and linking them in the same process, Intel is also able to make chips slightly faster.

Intel’s biggest competitor, AMD, already has a similar design solution called 3D V-cache done in Refresh Zen 3 and coming soon CPU Zen 4. AMD’s solution is a bit different as it only stacks the L3 cache and not the transistors themselves.

It should be noted that Intel’s stacked transistors won’t be around for several years. The first big change in transistors will come in 2024, when Intel plans to replace it transistor architecture with RibbonFET.

RibbonFET is not the only advancement in Intel’s roadmap. The company is also looking to introduce a new power supply process called PowerVia as part of the Its 20A production process, according to PC Mag. Chips manufactured on Intel’s 20A process are expected to launch through 2024, with Intel’s 2023 CPUs being the company’s first to be manufactured. using high digital aperture extreme ultraviolet lithography. Intel’s future bet for performance: stacked transistors


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