Your next Mac processor: Intel builds first 45nm transistors

Intel just smacked Moore’s law around a bit. They just announced they built the world’s first 45 nanometer transistors as part of the project code-named “Penryn.”

Let’s go into just how small that is. Hundreds could fit on the surface of single red blood cell.

How did they do it?

They got rid of silicon dioxide and introduced a new High-K dielectric. That’s all scientific gobbledy-good for saying they found a way to make transistors smaller, faster, and more power efficient.

OK, why did I say “Mac” in the headline? Cause my friends who are studying Digg say that you’re 30% more likely to get Dugg if you use the word “Mac” in a headline. Just kidding.

Anyway, I’ll have videos up shortly. I’ll just say that the Intel folks are very proud of what they just built. They say it puts them a year or two ahead of the competition.

According to Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, as quoted on the Intel site, “The implementation of high-k and metal materials marks the biggest change in transistor technology since the introduction of polysilicon gate MOS transistors in the late 1960s.”

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A little taste of Stanford Linear Accelerator tour…

Shel Israel came along on the tour we got earlier this week of the Stanford Linear Accelerator (SLAC) with Bebo White, one of the members of the team that built the first US Web site, and he wrote it up.

If you’ve visited Silicon Valley and drove down freeway 280 you’ve actually driven over SLAC. It’s that really long building in Menlo Park right near Sand Hill Road (if you’ve pitched a VC there, you’ve been within a few hundred yards of the two-mile-long building that sits on top of the accelerator).

It’ll take me a while to get the video up. I have a ton of videos in the can, so it’s scheduled to run Feb. 7th.

Speaking of stuff that’s been in the can for a while is my Intel 45 nanometer fab tour. That’ll be up tonight along with some Intel news.

Thanks Shel for writing up our tour and taking some pictures. Oh, and can’t wait to get the rest of the tour (it was so interesting that we ran out of time and out of tape).

One lasting impression: I’ve felt far smaller all week. Partly because of the intellects of the people we met. Partly because of what they are studying (forces and particles that haven’t been produced, or at least measured, since the creation of our universe). Partly because of the history of this place and the scale. It’s interesting that we need to build two-mile-long buildings to study things we can’t even see.

Thanks to Bebo White for arranging this tour. It had a profound effect on my life and I’ll never forget it. Sitting at the feet of Paul F. Kunz, author of the first Web site in the United States, was like sitting in church. It was a special moment. I love that he didn’t think the Web was that big a deal. Even assigned someone else to build the first US Web site. Remember, these are physicists who were more excited about smashing particles and studying what happens.

I’m thinking we should do a photowalking tour of SLAC. Would you like to go on a tour?

UPDATE: Wikipedia says that SLAC is the longest straight object in the world.