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RealTime IT News

Intel to Sport New Chip Packaging

These days, low-power processing is an extremely attractive feature in a sector where cutting power consumption is synonymous with cutting costs.

Santa Clara, Calif.'s Intel Corp. Monday drew the curtain on a new microprocessor technology, which is thinner, and by extension, requires less energy to be used. Moreover, the leading chipmaker said the new form would run at a much higher speed -- 1 billion transistors running at 20 gigahertz.

That's a far cry from Intel's ubiquitous Pentium 4 semiconductor, which boasts roughly 42 million transistors and runs at two gigahertz. Accordingly, the new chip technology, called Bumpless Build-up Layer, or BBUL, will take to time to develop, evolving over the next six years.

Physically, the new technology is different in one key area. Currently, chips employ solder balls that connect the die (chip core) to the packaging material, allowing energy to be delivered throughout the semiconductor, and ultimately, the computer.

What Intel has done, it said, is taken the solder balls out and put the die directly into the packaging, removing layers by which energy would travel. The shortened power travel route means the packaging will be speedier than traditional solder balls-to-die architecture.

Intel unveiled the technology at the Advanced Metallization Conference in Montreal. The company's foray into new technology form factors comes at the zenith of its price war with rival Advanced Micro Devices, which last Friday placed third quarter earning estimates at $766 million, compared to $985.3 million in the previous three months.

AMD blamed its struggles, highlighted by the 22 percent revenue plunge from the second quarter, on Intel's price undercutting and supposed deficiencies in the market leader's Pentium 4 chips.

"In an effort to make up for the performance deficiencies of computers based on its Pentium(R) 4 processors, Intel resorted to aggressive pricing and large, cash-backed marketing programs, which had the effect of driving down ASPs on PC processors in the market segments where we compete directly," AMD 's Chairman and CEO W.J. Sanders III said in a public statement.