For some time, people have been hearing that Moore’s Law will soon come to an end. Some people could be seen argueing that it has practically already ended. Though that seems necessary to happen in time, IBM has surprised everyone with the news of unveiling the first working versions of 7nm chips.
Instead of the pure silicon, wafer that uses silicon-germanium is what the new chips are really made of. Theoretically, it means that microprocessors with over 20 billion transisters can be manufactured. This means four times more transistors as compared to the what computers of today have. This further open the doors for 14nm process. This enables comparison with tiny biological structures like a strand of DNA which is 2.5 in diameter.
After the 10nm node , the step for 7nm process comes in next. The 7nm chips will be introduced in different devices by the end of 2016 with Intel’s Cannonlake. At the moment, the most advanced chips used in consumer devices are 14nm which Intel is manufacturing for its computers and Samsung is using those with Exynos 7420 in Galaxy S6. Every new generation of chip manufactured has 50% less area than the previous ones without any change in the amount of circuitry.
The credit for the latest breakthrough doesn’t only goes to IBM rather it goes to the whole consortium that IBM is leading. The participation and push of Samsung, New York State, GlobalFoundries and others cannot be ignored for wafer manufacturing. Now other companies are also pursuing the advanced node of 7nm manufacturing. TSMC which stands for Taiwan Semconductor Manufacturing Company will launch its pilot production in 2017; however, it did not show any working prototype yet.