IDF Keynote: Intel is Carrying the PC Torch


Also missing was any mention of Apple, despite Apple's record sales of MacBook line plus iMacs running Intel CPUs.

These are all indicators of the ongoing sea change in the industry, as the big tech companies adjust to a post-PC world. The PC may still be a critical part of users' lives, but whether it remains the center of the digital universe is uncertain. And if there's one thing Intel doesn't like, it's uncertainty.

Mark Bohr, Intel Senior Fellow, discussed some of the challenges inherent with shrinking the CPU to smaller and smaller die sizes. As the transistor density increases, power becomes a major issue. Bohr discussed Intel's decision to build vertical fins in the silicon layers to help carry drive current and increase performance.

In fact, chip designers can chain together multiple fins to increase performance, although at the cost of more power consumption. But the overall power efficiency (in performance per watt) increases. Tri-gate transistors can operate at lower voltages for the same CPU performance, offering up to a 50% reduction in power consumption. Bohr noted that they'd still see a 37% improvement in power usage as opposed to building their next generation CPUs using planar 22nm techniques.