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Intel unwraps faster chip packaging

Processor speeds set to hit 20GHz

Chip maker Intel today announced it has developed new packaging technology for microprocessors, which will enable it to build high-performance processors that will reach speeds of more than 20GHz.

The 'packaging' is the component that lies between the chip's silicon and the circuit board, facilitating communication between them.

This new technological advance in packaging, called 'bumpless build-up layer', removes the need for solder bumps that connect tiny copper wires to the chip. In simple terms, this reduces the thickness of the packaging so that the electric current has less distance to travel and hereby improves the performance of the chip.

BBUL is thinner and lighter than existing packages and can also support multiple processors in the same package, which Intel said means that server processors could have two silicon cores built into one package.

Last June, Intel demonstrated transistors running at 1.5THz (terahertz), and the company has been developing extreme ultra-violet lithography, which would enable printing as many as one billion transistors on to a chip. Today's Pentium 4 chip (pictured) can presently handle 42 million transistors.

Intel said it plans to begin using the technology in commercial products by 2007.


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