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New process technology

In the very near future, a transition to a 0.13-micron process is expected. This transition has long been promised by leading processor manufacturers, but for various reasons, its implementation has been delayed. Nevertheless, there is every reason to believe that this transition will take place already this year. What can be expected from the transition to a new technology?

Other things being equal (if the processor architecture remains unchanged), the transition to a 0.13-micron process technology:

Allows you to achieve high clock speeds.
Reduces the amount of energy consumed and, accordingly, the amount of heat generated.
It will save on silicon wafers, since the smaller the area occupied by the processor, the more CPU crystals can be placed on one wafer, which, of course, will reduce the cost of the processor itself.
If the L2 cache is not increased and the L3 cache is not added, then the core size of the 0.13 micron version of the Pentium 4 Northwood will be approximately half the size of the Willamette, i.e. about 110 mm2.

There is, however, an assumption, and there is evidence from the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) 2001, that with the transition to the new 0.13-micron process technology, Intel will release the “real” Pentium 4, with two units for floating-point operations and a larger the size of the second level cache (512 kB).

In one form or another, the appearance of the Pentium 4 processor, mass-produced using 0.13 micron technology, should be expected in the very near future. March 28, 2001, from a press release from Intel, it became known that the first trial batch of Pentium 4 microprocessors, made using the 0.13 micron process technology using 300 mm silicon wafers (at the D1C factory in Hillsboro, Oregon, was already released) , USA).

The transition to 0.13 micron technology is not the only innovation expected in the near future. Currently, processors are made of silicon wafers, which currently have a diameter of 8 inches (200 mm) [process P8xxx]. After the announcement of Northwood, Intel should gradually switch to 12-inch silicon billets (300 mm) [P12xxx process]. For the end user, switching microprocessor manufacturers to 12-inch silicon blanks could mean lower processor prices. This is always a joyful event, allowing you to buy a good processor for less money.

Intel, of course, is not alone in developing new technological standards by which the next generation of CPUs will be produced. Having secured demand, Nikon Corporation announced the acceleration of its Electron Projection Lithography (EPL) development program using 0.07-micron manufacturing standards. According to Nikon representatives, Texas Instruments (the one that released the first integrated circuit) has expressed its desire to use EPL technology in the production of memory chips as soon as a consortium of semiconductor manufacturers (Semiconductor Leading Edge Technology Inc., SELETE) approves and supports Nikon’s proposed program . IBM said it considers EPL the most likely next generation lithography technology. Agere Systems, a subsidiary of Lucent Technologies, is also a supporter of the EPL. At the SPIE Microlithography conference in Santa Clara, USA, at the end of May 2001, Nikon’s research unit submitted design documentation for the Nikon EPL program, which began with IBM back in 1995.

Nikon plans to begin commercial supply of EPL equipment to chip makers in late 2004.

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