Hard Science

Moore’s Law Stutters as Intel’s Tick-Tock Skips a Beat

Andrew TieuJuly 16th 2015
  • For a number of years now, Intel has been adhering to a tick-tock strategy in improving its chips: the tick is a shrinking of the manufacturing process, while the tock is an optimization of the design and architecture at a given size.
  • During a conference call to discuss Intel’s latest earnings, CEO Brian Krzanich explained that “the last two technology transitions have signaled that our cadence today is closer to 2.5 years than two.” Manufacturing advances haven’t progressed at the same pace as before. Intel’s decelerated roadmap suggests that the extraordinary pace of improvement in the chip industry is starting to slow down.
  • At the 10nm size, Intel is approaching the limits of what can be done with silicon, and any further development beyond it will probably require different materials, such as the silicon-germanium alloy that IBM used to demonstrate a processor built at 7nm recently.

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