Since the turn of the millennium, I’ve seen advances in chip manufacturing processes — from circuitry measuring 180 nanometers to 130 to 90 to 65 to 45 and now 32nm — and new architectural designs in between. Every time a new chip advancement comes out, I try hooking up with our performance test engineers to get their take on the latest chips.I visited the test labs in late 2007 when Intel moved to the 45nm process, which used the reinvented transistor using new high-k metal gates to help shrink and limit electrical leakage. When the 32nm chips were being tested and prepped for their first public demonstration, I got to meet up with Intel VP Steve Smith and PC performance wizard Francois Piednoel. Here Francios points out a few things like power consumption, new simplified motherboard design and the CPU with integrated graphics on one chip package nestled beneath a single heat sink.
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