Intel claims to have made another breakthrough in the quest to produce cheaper and faster processors.
Scientists at the company have designed a new type of transistor which is smaller than currently available chips. It also uses less power and can operate at higher speeds.
The transistor is called TeraHertz because it switches on and off one trillion times a second. Intel said that the development removes technical barriers that the semiconductor industry has only recently begun to identify, and could lead to faster, smaller devices with longer battery lives.
Gerald Marcyk, director of components research at Intel, said there are still fundamental problems in power consumption, heat and current leakage to deal with.
"Our goal is to overcome these barriers and produce chips that have 25 times the number of transistors of today's microprocessors at 10 times the speed, with no increase in power consumption," he said.
In October, Intel said it had developed a programmable network processor capable of processing data in excess of 10Gbps.
It also developed a process called Bumpless Build-Up Layer which allows transistors to be attached to a chip while avoiding solder bumps. This could see the 20GHz barrier broken by 2006.
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