Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9770 "Performance Preview"

Thirty million transistors on the head of a pin. Think about that for a minute. Where on earth can you fit 30 million of anything in that amount of space? It use to be that 30 million transistors was a good-sized chip. These days, in a 45nm Hafium-based High-K process, it almost seems like we […]

Thirty million transistors on the head of a pin. Think about that for a minute. Where on earth can you fit 30 million of anything in that amount of space? It use to be that 30 million transistors was a good-sized chip. These days, in a 45nm Hafium-based High-K process, it almost seems like we (OK, OK, Intel...) can defy the laws of physics. We're talking rocket science here people. Actually, it's probably a bit more complex than rocket science. Titanium (Ti), Zirconium (Zr), Gallium (Ga), heck we've even heard of Rubidium (Rb), but Hafium? Is someone at Intel just making this stuff up?

Whether you fancy yourself a scientist that can appreciate naturally occurring isotopes utilized in leading-edge manufacturing processes, or maybe you're just a gear-head that knows four cores running at 3.2GHz is just "freakin' fast" - there is no denying these days that Intel is completely unstoppable when it comes to semiconductor process and manufacturing R&D. No other semiconductor company in the world is shipping anything in high volume at 45nm. That's 45 nanometers or .045 micron if you prefer. Sure, 45nm has been "demonstrated" by the likes of IBM, TSMC, and Charter Semiconductor but getting to volume is a completely different ball of wax altogether. Few companies have the resources and capital that Intel has to bring the technology to market first. And when it comes to processors comprised of 800 million plus transistors, every tenth of a micron counts.

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