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posted by janrinok on Tuesday December 14 2021, @04:04PM   Printer-friendly

New IBM and Samsung transistors could be key to super-efficient chips (updated)

IBM and Samsung claim they've made a breakthrough in semiconductor design. On day one of the IEDM [(International Electron Devices Meeting)] conference in San Francisco, the two companies unveiled a new design for stacking transistors vertically on a chip. With current processors and SoCs, transistors lie flat on the surface of the silicon, and then electric current flows from side-to-side. By contrast, Vertical Transport Field Effect Transistors (VTFET) sit perpendicular to one another and current flows vertically.

According to IBM and Samsung, this design has two advantages. First, it will allow them to bypass many performance limitations to extend Moore's Law beyond IBM's current nanosheet technology. More importantly, the design leads to less wasted energy thanks to greater current flow. They estimate VTFET will lead to processors that are either twice as fast or use 85 percent less power than chips designed with FinFET transistors. IBM and Samsung claim the process may one day allow for phones that go a full week on a single charge. They say it could also make certain energy-intensive tasks, including cryptomining, more power-efficient and therefore less impactful on the environment.

IBM blog post. Also at Notebookcheck.

See also: Samsung Begins Sampling 24 Gbps GDDR6 Memory Chips For Next-Gen GPUs


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  • (Score: 5, Touché) by drussell on Tuesday December 14 2021, @04:13PM (3 children)

    by drussell (2678) on Tuesday December 14 2021, @04:13PM (#1204996) Journal

    IBM and Samsung claim the process may one day allow for phones that go a full week on a single charge.

    My Nokia 5300 from 2006 lasts a week on a single charge...

    That's one of the (many) reasons I still use it!

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Tuesday December 14 2021, @04:25PM (1 child)

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Tuesday December 14 2021, @04:25PM (#1204999) Journal

      Idk man, we could have 6 GHz phones!

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @07:35PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @07:35PM (#1205058)

        Oh, yea! Faster cat pictures, and moar pixels in our Facebook dick pictures!

        Just what we need.

    • (Score: 2) by sfm on Wednesday December 15 2021, @02:19PM

      by sfm (675) on Wednesday December 15 2021, @02:19PM (#1205289)

      You know, bigger batteries would also allow a phone to go a week without charging, and this is with current technology... if only the manufacturers made battery life a priority

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @04:23PM (9 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @04:23PM (#1204998)

    Did anyone else read the headline and think (momentarily) that IBM and Samsung have decided to get into the elevator market?

    Or, perhaps into the happy vertical people transporter market...

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @05:29PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @05:29PM (#1205016)

      beam me up i'sam'b'sung'm.

    • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @05:38PM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @05:38PM (#1205021)

      No, I'm pretty sure it was just you.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @08:36PM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @08:36PM (#1205095)

        See below, at least one other AC saw elevators as I did (I'm the gp).

        Could have been a senior moment in my case (recently passed age 65).

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @10:43PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @10:43PM (#1205136)

          I was just being a smartass. :)

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15 2021, @12:13AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15 2021, @12:13AM (#1205158)

            Yes, I know, and gave you the Touche for good measure.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15 2021, @11:51AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15 2021, @11:51AM (#1205270)

          I don't think it's a senior moment, because I'm about half your age (and I'm that AC).

          Actually, I suspect that people assume I'm in my 60s because I've been around the green site and here for about 2 decades. I was only like 13 when I started blathering on the green site, and I've been at it for another 20 years. (Been coding since I was literally 4 years old, sooo, that's how I ended up in these parts.)

    • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @06:03PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @06:03PM (#1205027)

      Omg, think of the jingle when the Samsung elevator gets to your floor and the doors won't open before the whole jingle has played fully.

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @06:46PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @06:46PM (#1205036)

        Would that song be:

        Share and Enjoy, Share and Enjoy,
        Journey through life With a plastic boy
        Or girl by your side, Let your pal be your guide.
        And when it breaks down, Or starts to annoy,
        Or grinds when it moves, And gives you no joy,
        Cause it's eaten your hat, Or had sex with your cat,
        Bled oil on your floor, Or ripped off your door,
        And it gets to the point You can't stand anymore,
        Bring it to us, We won't give a fig.
        We'll tell you,
                Go stick your head in a pig!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @08:04PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @08:04PM (#1205078)
      I absolutely did this. Thank you. I'm glad I'm not the only one.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by maxwell demon on Tuesday December 14 2021, @05:48PM (2 children)

    by maxwell demon (1608) on Tuesday December 14 2021, @05:48PM (#1205024) Journal

    They say it could also make certain energy-intensive tasks, including cryptomining, more power-efficient and therefore less impactful on the environment.

    For cryptomining, it won't. More energy-efficient cryptomining just means that more cryptomining will happen.

    --
    The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by mcgrew on Tuesday December 14 2021, @07:46PM (5 children)

    by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Tuesday December 14 2021, @07:46PM (#1205065) Homepage Journal

    They finally did it? I remember reading about the studies over twenty years ago.

    The second paragraph is kind of common sense. Picture printed circuit boards stacked, with some wires in the center going through holes in the middle of the stack to reach the top, and every other permutation. The farther current has to go to more the conductor heats (energy loss) and the longer it takes for the signal to get there.

    For an amusing picture, imagine a circuit board big enough to hold all of the billions of discrete components in a CPU or memory chip, not just transistors. Bigger than the land area of a city? Haven't bothered to do the math.

    --
    mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
    • (Score: 3, Funny) by EvilSS on Tuesday December 14 2021, @09:39PM (2 children)

      by EvilSS (1456) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 14 2021, @09:39PM (#1205119)
      Now if they could just get the Beryllium Oxide Based Active Field Effect Transistors out of the lab and into production.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @11:04PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @11:04PM (#1205141)

        The problem with those, however, is that you're not supposed to take them out of their packaging because it ruins their value.

      • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Saturday December 18 2021, @08:53PM

        by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Saturday December 18 2021, @08:53PM (#1206213) Homepage Journal

        Whenever I see the word "Beryllium" I think of an Asimov story called Sucker Bait. It has a character who is obviously autistic even though it was decades before autism was ever recognized.

        --
        mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
    • (Score: 2) by ChrisMaple on Thursday December 16 2021, @06:37AM (1 child)

      by ChrisMaple (6964) on Thursday December 16 2021, @06:37AM (#1205506)

      My understanding of this (I could easily be wrong) is that the performance gain is made possible by having extremely short gates. Gate length is the primary speed limitation in digital FET IC tech, not conductor losses. Vertical FETs have the gate length set by layer thickness, which can almost be controlled in units of atoms. By way of contrast, horizontal FET gate length is controlled by lithography, which is much less accurate.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @09:00PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @09:00PM (#1205104)

    "More importantly, the design leads to less wasted energy thanks to greater current flow."

    I always thought that-- assuming the same material is used for interconnect-- more current flow means more conduction losses, or MORE wasted energy.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @11:55PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 14 2021, @11:55PM (#1205153)

      s/"greater current flow"/"lower resistance"/

    • (Score: 2) by ChrisMaple on Thursday December 16 2021, @06:58AM

      by ChrisMaple (6964) on Thursday December 16 2021, @06:58AM (#1205510)

      The summary surely makes it confusing.

      To a first approximation, losses in digital ICs are caused by the current flowing through equivalent resistances to charge up capacitances. Most of the capacitance is in the FET gate, and most of the resistance is in the FET channel. If the resistance of the channel is lower, the capacitance charges up faster and at a higher current, but the total energy consumed remains unchanged at 0.5*C*V^2. A trade-off that allows lower power is to make the vertical transistor's gate smaller so that it passes the same or less current as the equivalent horizontal transistor, but has much less capacitance. Less gate capacitance means less energy per transition.

  • (Score: 1, Redundant) by VLM on Tuesday December 14 2021, @09:12PM

    by VLM (445) on Tuesday December 14 2021, @09:12PM (#1205109)

    IBM and Samsung claim the process may one day allow for phones that go a full week on a single charge.

    You're holding your phone wrong. The electrons work more better when vertical, so just take your "one day battery iphone" and hold it sideways, like gangster style pew pew. Then IBM claims the battery will last a week, because you'll be too embarrassed to be seen using it while holding it so weird.

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