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Intel shows off first-ever 45nm chip

Promises commercial versions by second half of next year.

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Intel has shown off what it claims is the world's first 45nm chip.

The fully functional SRAM chip has more than one billion transistors and includes all the elements of a multi-core PC processor. But it is not intended as an Intel product, but only a demonstration that the company can build a chip with the next-generation technology, the company said.

Chips made on the latest 45nm process will be commercially available in the second half of 2007, the company said.

A nanometer is a millionth of a millimeter, and each chip production technology is measured by the size of the smallest feature it can produce on a chip. With the 45nm manufacturing process, Intel can make processors with five times less power leakage than current chips.

As a result, PCs will perform with higher performance per watt. The most advanced manufacturing technology today is 65nm, which went into commercial production in the fourth quarter of last year. Intel moves to a new process generation every two years, the company said.

The chips will be made on large 300mm wafers, Intel said. Those wafers deliver higher volume and lower cost per chip than smaller wafers. The company's initial 45nm work is taking place at its D1D fabrication plant in Oregon. It is also building two more fabs for 45nm manufacturing, Fab 32 in Arizona and Fab 28 in Israel.



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