Intel's Tri-Gate transistors are ready to battle ARM

Posted by Aharon Etengoff

ARM currently dominates the lucrative mobile space with its power conscious RISC chips. 



However, IHS iSuppli believes Intel's new Tri-Gate 3D (22nm) transistors will allow the company to renew its assault on the tablet and smartphone semiconductor market.

Intel's tri-gate transistors ready to battle ARM "These microprocessors consume less than half the power of devices using 32nm technology and conventional planar transistors, while still delivering the same level of performance," explained IHS analyst Matthew Wilkins.

"[Yes], a 50 percent reduction in power consumption is significant. [Remember], the less power your electronic device consumes, the longer the battery will last, and the longer a user can be truly mobile."

IHS analyst Francis Sideco expressed similar sentiments, noting that such a move is likely to help Intel establish a viable mobile presence.



"Marching down the nanometer curve will definitely help Intel penetrate the market for mobile devices. 



"That, however, is only one part of the equation, as power efficiency in these types of devices also requires system-level optimization of the processors."

According to IHS iSuppli, the development of the Tri-Gate technology is also likely to serve as a "defensive measure" for Intel, which is facing a new challenge from ARM in its core PC microprocessor business.

Indeed, as TG Daily previously reported, Microsoft recently redefined the traditional x86 Wintel paradigm by announcing future iterations of its flagship Windows operating system will support ARM-based SoCs.



Clearly, this move represents a major change in the global PC market, as Windows has almost always been an x86-exclusive operating system. And with its historical advantage in power consumption, ARM could potentially eat into the core x86 PC market. 



However, IHS iSuppli projects Tri-Gate will make x86 architecture a "better matchup" against ARM. To be sure, in terms of power consumption, x86 should become more competitive with ARM across a wide variety of low-power devices, including notebooks, netbooks, tablets and smartphones.

"Unlike the TSMC/IBM effort, Intel's Tri-Gate is ready for volume production - representing a significant technological achievement. This capability should give Intel a two- to three-year manufacturing advantage over its competitors," said IHS iSuppli analyst Len Jelinek.

"Other advantages of Intel's Tri-Gate technology include its scalability, cost, product roadmap and elimination of the use of special wafers. Finally, Tri-Gate gives Intel a roadmap to extend its 22nm semiconductor manufacturing technology to the Atom platform, which could result in the introduction of a low-power microarchitecture that can be incorporated into cell phones."