Intel's 3D Transistor: Why It Matters

Intel's are no small feat. Some are calling it that will allow Intel to continue to make chips that adhere to Moore's Law (i.e. the number of transistors that can be placed on a circuit will double every two years).

Even that impressive feat is just business as usual. After all, Moore's Law has been in effect for decades. The bigger news would be if Moore's Law no longer applied to Intel chips.

So what's the big deal with Intel's 3D transistors? The answer lies in more than just smartphones, tablets, and set-top boxes. This fundamental new way of making the circuits of microchips could have a dramatic impact on everything from the smallest handheld devices to the biggest datacenters.

The Future of Computing

There's no denying that the future of computing lies in small, low-power solutions coupled with big-iron cloud services. Smartphones are becoming personal computers, to run simple desktop computing environments. . Entire home entertainment experiences are being jammed into tiny set-top boxes and embedded into televisions. Even Microsoft's will run on low-power ARM-based chips.

Intel hasn't excelled in all of these areas. It has a presence in televisions, thanks to Google TV and the Boxee Box, but so far the company hasn't gained much traction in smartphones and tablets. Intel's are largely ignored. Its aren't due to appear in any products until later this year, and they still may not fare well against the more-established ARM processors.