Silicon chip crosses speed barriers



The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the most important part of a computer. It contains the microprocessor chip which undertakes all the thinking for the PC and runs the programs (series of instructions) according to the user’s commands and requests. Following are the various types of CPU chips:

§ Pentium
§ Cyrix
§ Pentium Pro
§ AMD Duron
§ Intel Celeron
§ Pentium IV
§ AMD Athlon
§ Pentium III

The speed of the CPU is measured in mega Hertz or MHz. Over the years there is a gradual improvement in the speed of the computer. Intel one of the biggest software companies in the world has recently has manufactured a Pentium IV processor which has a remarkable speed of 1700 MHz {1.7 Giga Hertz (Ghz)}.

The amazing speed chip developed:

For sometime now, Moore’s Law has been causing concern to computer specialists. The 40-year old law the brain child of Intel co-founder Gordon Moore states that that computer processing power doubles every two years and had not failed in its prediction till chip makers started realizing that they were probably approaching the limits of miniaturization as far as chip architecture is concerned.

But now researchers the Georgia Institute of Technology in the United States and IBM have succeeded in developing, Silicon based chip, operating at an astonishing speed of over 500 GHz. This is 100 times faster than the fastest PC chips sold today and about 250 times faster than the typical mobile telephone chip. The researchers achieved these speeds by freezing the chip with the aid of liquid helium to minus 268 degrees Celsius, just a few degrees above absolute zero. Although at room temperatures the speed drops to 350 GHz, it’s still far speedier than present day chips and indicates that the upper bound for performance in such devices may be even higher than originally expected.

Since these developments typically find their way into commercial products in 12 to 24 months, it could soon lead to ultra-fast computers and powerful wireless networks capable of moving a DVD-quality movie in as little as five seconds. The new computer chip is amazing and astonishes with its speed.

What’s more encouraging, however, is the fact that it’s demonstrated to researchers they are nowhere near having topped the limits of silicon’s performance.

Most improvements in chip speeds over the years have come from shrinking of size, but the latest approach was to tweak the silicon at an atomic level, meaning that in future they can be designed from the ground up with very specific applications in mind. The next step would be to understand the physics behind the devices which display their unusual properties at extremely low temperatures.

For some time now there had been a talk that perhaps the physical barriers for chip performance had been reached and only some newer and totally different breakthroughs would enable further development. This has proved to be a wrong assessment. It seems like technology keeps opening new vistas for up gradation and enhancement all the time. Also that Moore’s Law is going to hang in there for a while longer.

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