IDF Keynote: Intel is Carrying the PC Torch


All this performance and power consumption goodness doesn't come free. CPUs are built onto large silicon wafers with hundreds of CPU dies. Wafers are expensive, and using tri-gate will increase wafer costs 2-3% over planar 22nm designs. But Intel feels the power consumption and performance gains outweigh the wafer costs.

Interestingly, Bohr also noted that at 32nm (prior to tri-gate), Intel actually has three families of transistors for different product requirements: high performance, standard performance and low power. This is different from the 65nm era, when Intel offered a single type of transistor to all their CPU designers.

Intel VP Steve Smith discussed product development with 22nm tri-gate technology.

Smith suggested that a quad-core CPU can be built in the same area and with the same power consumption in 22nm tri-gate as dual core CPUs in 32nm. They'll actually have different manufacturing processes in place for standard CPUs and system-on-chip products (which may end up in mobile devices.)