IBM and Samsung have jointly announced a breakthrough chip design that could lead to major performance gains and a full week of battery life for your phone.
The new Vertical Transport Field Effect Transistors (VTFET) chip, co-developed at the Albany Nanotech Complex in New York, features at its core a vertical architecture rather than the usual flat method.
By stacking transistors on top of one another rather than the usual side-by-side method, this VTFET chip will dramatically raise the ceiling in terms of the number of transistors that can be packed into a small surface area. It will also improve the transistor contact points, thus “allowing for greater current flow with less wasted energy”.
The resulting benefits promise to be dramatic. IBM and Samsung are predicting that it will reduce energy usage by 85 percent compared to comparable fin field-effect transistor (finFET) chips, while a two-fold improvement in performance is also on the cards.
On the efficiency front, it’s claimed that this will lead to “cell phone batteries that could go over a week without being charged, instead of days.”
Naturally such low-energy, high-performance hardware would represent a huge boost for the Internet of Things (IoT).
This would appear to come at an ideal time, as Moore’s Law – the long-standing principle that transistor numbers and thus chip performance will double every two years – has been bumping up up against the limits of physics of late. The old flat production method simply won’t bring about the huge, regular gains that it did for many years.