Based on Intel's tri-gate announcement, I fear this is the end for AMD. How can they catch up? AMD's 32-nm processor is barely shipping. They have no CEO. The question is who will buy them? Right now, I believe AMD is on the block. Samsung might buy them. Or they could soon become Abu Micro Devices. I say the later. Thoughts?
If it were just Windows, then Intel wouldn't worry. The icing on the cake, for ARM, is that Visual Studio supports ARM cross-development on x86. Ironically, Intel's own high performance x86 processors are more than capable of real-time ARM emulation. Practically every ap for x86 Windows can very easily be ported to ARM Windows. Microsoft is leveling the playing field, which is a very smart move on MS part, but really puts the pressure on Intel. But Windows 8, in my opinion, will be much more taxing on the hardware than Android or iOS. Windows 8 may be much less responsive on ARM than on a 22 nm Sandy Bridge-like multi-core Atom.
yes, finfet has been there for 10+ years. The industry credits Profs. Chenming Hu (Cal) as the expert on this structure. There is, however, many challenges to make this work in real life (hundres millions transistor). For example, The gates on each side of the fin to match. consistant height of the Fin (extremely difficult), Width of the Fin, integration schemes (the fin tends to collapse and causing shorts). TSMC hired Hu as CTO and planned to introduce Finfet in 65nm, but after few years without progress, they eventually gave up, and Hu went back to teaching. What Intel achieved will be at least 2-3 ahead of the packs. Semiconductor process is not Magic, it's a lot of research, and learn from errors to get the result. When intel annound 1270 release, they'll have at least ran 10K+ wafers to learn the technology. With IBM/GF/Samsung/TSMC/UMC combined, their wafer with Finfet on it will be less than 200 pcs ... and that where the gap is
sxs537, I have to agree with you on the SoC ecosystem point. This truly has been ARM's advantage, more so than power efficiency. They have made it as painless as possible to build the chip -- assemble the cores and other IP -- and then to build a system (software, etc.) around the chip.
But with 22 nm being production-ready by the end of this year, Intel indeed has pushed their huge manufacturing advantage even further ahead of the pack.
They really should pursue foundry business more seriously. I think every SoC design team in the world would salivate at the idea of building their chip in an Intel fab.
There exists a book on multigate (trigate) transistors: "FinFETs and Other Multi-Gate Transistors", J.P. Colinge (Ed.), Springer, 350 pages, November 2007 (ISBN: 978-0-387-71751-7)
Trigate was invented in 1995:
"Quantum-wire effects in thin and narrow SOI MOSFETs", X. Baie, IEEE International SOI Conference, pp. 66-67, 1995
"A silicon-on-insulator quantum wire", X. Baie, Solid-State Electronics, Vol. 39, pp. 49-51, 1996
Intel's real threat is Microsoft's decision to offer Windows 8 on an Arm platform. They can respond to this in 3 ways:
1. Advance the x86 product such that Arm is an unattractive platform for Windows.
2. License Arm.
3. 1 & 2
Clearly #1 is the more profitable option. #2 is a good backup plan after making #1 a success. The tri-gate technology is a discontinuity in technology, design tools and design expertise. Intel will have a jump of several years just due to design tools and design expertise alone. They may have to concede some of the low-end mobile market but they are going to fight for the high-end performance market.