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22nm process; What does it mean?

post #1 of 8
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When someone talks about a microprocessor architecture that uses a 22nm or XXnm process what do they actually mean?
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post #2 of 8
Im actually interested to see the simplified explanations of this. biggrin.gif
Ive been trying to explain it to a friend and im convinced im doing it wrong because he doesnt seem to grasp it.
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post #3 of 8
I had to google this one but here is an answer from a CPU designer...
Quote:
Jonathan Kang, CPU Designer

Those are typically the feature size. That is to say, it is the smallest "cut" that the fabrication method can make into the silicon. If one were to carve out a transistor on the surface of a silicon wafer, one has to be able to etch to a certain degree of precision. If the smallest cut you can make into the silicon is, say, 11nm, then in order to make a piece of a transistor, you'll need to cut a small square (really a dot) and then leave a space for the next cut.

This means the smallest effective "feature" that can be made is 22nm. For a typical MOSFET (field effect transistor), this size is usually the length of the gate. See the background of a MOSFET:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MOSFET

In practice, a smaller feature size means smaller transistors can be carved onto silicon. Smaller transistors require less voltage to operate and therefore, use less power. It used to be that smaller transistors also meant they were faster, but that has stopped being true since ~45nm.

Source
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post #4 of 8
i believe it is the transistor size etched into the die/ manufacturing process. a transistor is the main component used in micro-processors.
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post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ardalista View Post

I had to google this one but here is an answer from a CPU designer...
Source

Very informative answer, thanks for a good read.
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post #6 of 8
Here is a good vid on how cpu's are made.
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post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by driftingforlife View Post

Here is a good vid on how cpu's are made.

I liked this.
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post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies.
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