With advances in chip technology, it's becoming more difficult for Intel to keep up with Moore's Law, but the company's CEO says that remains the key baseline when it comes to adding performance and functionality to its processors.
"Our job at Intel is to make sure it lives on as long as possible," Brian Krzanich said during a keynote at the Intel investor meeting in Santa Clara, California, Thursday.
Next year marks the 50th year anniversary of Moore's Law, and Intel is planning to mark the event, Krzanich said.
Moore's Law is based on an observation by Gordon Moore, who co-founded Intel in 1968, that the number of transistors that can be placed on silicon will double every two years, making it possible to improve chip performance and add new functionality. Intel has used Moore's Law, which was offered in a 1965 paper, as a baseline to pack more transistors onto chips, and reduce their size and cost.
But with chips shrinking to the atomic level, engineers and scientists have declared that Moore's Law has reached its last stages. Intel at the investor conference said it has packed more performance and power savings into its latest chips while achieving cost savings in line with Moore's Law, though production and design issues caused it to veer off the path.
Intel usually releases new chips every year and implements new manufacturing processes every two years. But the company has had trouble making chips using the 14-nanometer process, which is the most advanced in the industry. It took Intel two and a half years to get the full benefits of the 14-nanometer process.
The first chips based on the 14-nm process shipped earlier this year, but yields are just starting to reach Intel's projected expectations, compared to the previous 22-nanometer process, said Bill Holt, executive vice president and general manager of Intel's Technology and Manufacturing Group.
Production of the first 14-nanometer chips code-named Broadwell is in a "healthy range," though hasn't yet recovered after initial lapses, Holt said, adding that yields will reach 22-nm levels by early 2015, Holt said.
"Our 22-nanometer technology is the highest yielding technology we've ever had. The bar that we're trying to catch up to there is very high," Holt said. "That's essential, because if you're going to get cost reduction [you] have to match those other parameters of your previous generation."
But yields are still not normal for Intel, which is known for its timely execution. Problems with Broadwell production have led to delays in the release of laptops and tablets. The first Broadwell-based tablets and hybrids have just started appearing on store shelves and will be in mainstream laptops early next year.
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