Intel Marks 60th Anniversary of the Transistor

Subject: General Tech | December 11, 2007 - 11:35 AM |

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Dec. 10, 2007 - Intel Corporation on Dec. 16 celebrates the 60th anniversary of the transistor, the building block of today's digital world. Invented by Bell Labs and considered one of the most important inventions of the 20th century, transistors are found in many consumer electronics and are the fundamental component used to build computer chips, or the "brains" of the personal computer (PC).

Intel, the world's largest manufacturer of computer chips, has recently introduced its 45 nanometer (nm) next-generation family of quad-core processors. Called the biggest transistor advancement in 40 years by Intel Co-Founder Gordon Moore, the processors are the first to use Intel's Hafnium-based high-k metal gate (Hi-k) formula for the hundreds of millions of transistors inside these processors. Introduced on Nov. 12 and continuing into the next few months, this latest innovation is enabling servers, everyday PCs and laptops to become smaller, faster, sleeker and more energy-efficient while also eliminating eco-unfriendly lead and, in 2008, halogen materials.

Guided by Moore's Law

On April 19, 1965 Electronics Magazine published a paper by Moore in which he made a prediction about the semiconductor industry that has become the stuff of legend. Known as Moore's Law, his prediction states that the number of transistors on a chip doubles about every 2 years, enabling widespread proliferation of technology worldwide, and today it has become shorthand for rapid technological change.

Moore's Law not only predicts that computing technology will increase in value but at the same time would actually decrease in cost. The price of a transistor in Intel's newest chip family is about 1 millionth the average price of a transistor in 1968. If car prices had fallen at the same rate, a new car today would cost about one cent.