Researchers at IBM and Georgia Tech said Tuesday that they had created the first silicon-based chip capable of operating at speeds of over 500 GHz. The processor beat the previous speed record by 125 gigahertz, and is some 125 times faster than today's fastest chips.
To accomplish this feat, the researchers froze the chip to near absolute zero -- minus 451 degrees Fahrenheit. IBM said that computer simulations seem to indicate that the silicon-germanium (SiGe) technology could eventually support near-terahertz operation, even at room temperature. At room temperature, the chip operated at 350 GHz, slightly slower than the record but still over 87 times faster than the fastest commercially available chips. According to IBM, SiGe chips operate faster at very cold temperatures.
IBM 500 GHz Chip Processor