Silicon has been the go to material for manufacturing electronic components for decades, having replaced germanium around the mid-20th century as the core component of the wafers used to produce chips. However, as far as Intel is concerned, it looks like silicon will be hitting the end of the road when it comes to the fabrication of microprocessors.
Later this year, Intel will be releasing chips fabricated through a 14nm process and has plans to shrink that manufacturing process down further to 10nm in the next couple years. Beyond that, they plan to work on a 7nm fabrication process that will be using a material other than silicon. While the details of the 7nm fabrication process are still being researched, likely replacement materials are looking very promising as they offer higher performance than silicon at the same scale.
What this’ll mean to your average customer is that processors are going to perform even faster while using much less power when the switch to a 7nm fabrication process does occurs. Does this mean that you should plan on throwing out your newly built system and prepare for an upgrade? Not really, given that this switch will likely be near the end of the decade and we’re still waiting for 14nm chips to be released.
Thanks for reading and if you have any questions about upgrading your system's processor or any other general questions about computers, feel free to contact us or stop by any of our 9 locations.