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Researchers a step closer in creating successor to shrinking transistors

Over the decades, computers and other electronic devices have shrunk in size and also been significantly faster. This has been possible as the makers have understood and implemented the techniques to decrease the size of individual transistors, small electrical switches which work in transmitting information.

Researchers have relentlessly worked on decreasing the size of the transistor so as to pack more in each chip. However, it seems that pursuit is almost over as scientists are rapidly approaching the minimum physical limit for the size of the transistor, with the current models measuring 10 nanometres which is equivalent to the width of 30 atoms.

Dr. Kyeongjae Cho, professor of Materials science at the University of Texas, Dallas remarked that the power of processing of electronic equipment is derived from the millions and billions of transistors which are interconnected on one chip. He also pointed out that we are very rapidly nearing the minimum scale of size.

For further making improvement on the processing speed, the industry of microelectronics is currently looking at alternative possibilities. Professor Cho’s research work has been published in the Nature Communications journal.

Normal transistors can only transmit two types of information. Being a switch, the transistor is either in the on state or off state which in binary language translates to 1 or 0.

A technique to increase the processing power without putting in additional transistors would be to ramp up the information that can be conveyed by a single transistor with the help of intermediate stages between 1 and 0. The multi-valued transistor based on this principle would make for more operations and a greater amount of information which can be processed in one device.

Cho said that the concept of multi-valued logic transistors is not very new and there have been past attempts to create similar devices.  

Cho and his research group used a unique configuration of two types of zinc oxide to make a composite layer which is incorporated with other materials inside a superlattice. They found out that the physics for multi-valued logic can be achieved by embedding crystals of zinc oxide called quantum dots in amorphous zinc oxide. The order of atoms in amorphous solid is not rigid as in crystals. Cho has applied for patenting his work as he found that it is possible to create an electronic structure for the multi-level logic structure.

The significance of this research is that it can bridge the gap between current computing and quantum computers. Cho added that quantum computing is not yet commercialized and his work is in the direction to merge the gap between binary and large degrees of freedom.


intel 7th gen processor

Intel announces its ninth generation processor range for laptops

Intel announced its ninth generation processorsi9-9980HK for laptops which can clock up to 5 GHz. It had earlier announced the ninth gen chips aimed at desktop consumers and the i9-9900K was debuted which was the first processor for consumers to reach the clock speed of 5 GHz. The overclocked processors are aimed at heavy gaming users. Gaming laptops by ASUS, Lenovo and Razer were also announced coinciding with this news.

The 9980HK processor has a base clock speed of 2.4GHz and its performance can be boosted up to 5 GHz. With the help of Intel’s Hyperthreading technology, which allows for two threads per core it has 16 threads of performance. There is also the 9880H for those users who do not need to overclock. The base level processor in this line is the i5-9300H which can reach a maximum clock speed of 4GHz by boosting its performance.

In comparison to last year’s 8th gen processor 8950HK, the i9-9980HK can provide up to 18 percent higher framerate in games such as Hitman 2 and it is 28 percent faster in case of 4K video editing. When compared to three-year-old machines running i7-6700HQ, the new processors offer almost 50 percent faster fps and a 54 percent increase in video editing.

For those users who bought laptops in the last year, these chips would not provide a huge upgrade. These are most suitable for machines which are more than three years old as these processors would be a huge performance boost.

Besides this, the processors also come with the support of Intel’s Optane Memory H10 module, which basically combines the zippy memory technology with large scale SSD storage. This technology allows Intel to use their Optane memory caching method in the ultrabooks which can only accommodate one SSD. According to claims from Intel, this solution will help in loading games 2.29 times faster and load large files 1.63 times faster. The 9980-HK is equipped with a smart cache memory of 16 MB and can support up to 128 GB of RAM. It also comes with the support for AX200 Wi-Fi 6 adapter, that can provide wireless speeds up to 2.4 Gbps.

Gaming laptops such as Alienware Area 51m are equipped with the i9-9900K desktop processor and has a thermal design of 95 watts. Because of this, there is a compromise on battery life. However, the ninth gen laptop chips provide a more balanced option to the consumers as it is based on the thermal design of 45 watts. While the consumers would not get the battery life of 12 plus hours like that of ultraportable laptops, they can expect an additional increase of few hours.