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Smallest Chip Technology From IBM Preserves Moore’s Law

macro closeup view of a silicon smallest chip technology.

IBM and its Research Alliance partners may have given new life to Moore’s Law.

This new process helps organizations imagine new possibilities in computing.

A new computer chip-making process developed by IBM and its partners, Samsung and GlobalFoundaries, enables the manufacture of 5-nanometer silicon chips. These chips deliver 40% more processing power when compared to the leading-edge 10-nanometer chips currently available.

The bold idea behind the smaller chip is to stack silicon layers horizontally instead of vertically.

Thought leader Ray Wang, Principal Analyst, Founder, and Chairman of Constellation Research, Inc., notes, “This new process helps organizations imagine new possibilities in computing, especially applications that use very little power and are extremely mobile, such as AR/VR inside biomedical devices, omnipresent cognitive applications, and even more precision in IoT.”

Graph showing how processing power chips are getting smaller. IBM's smallest chip technology.
IMB’s Chip is the smallest yet at only 5mm, thanks to horizontally layered silicon.

Moore’s Law New Lease on Life

In 1965, Intel co-founder Gordon E. Moore proposed what has come to be known as ‘Moore’s Law.’

Moore’s law predicts that the numbers of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits will double every two years. The result is exponential growth in computing power.

In 2005, Moore admitted this rate of exponential growth couldn’t go on forever. Eventually, the physical limitations in manufacturing the chips would slow down the rate of increase in computing power. Around 2012, Moore’s admission appeared to come true. The rate of advancement began to slow.

This slowdown couldn’t have come at a worse time. Virtual reality, augmented reality, blockchains, IoT, Big Data, self-driving cars—the list is growing—are making huge demands for processing power.

The bold impact of the new design—the IBM chip process has managed to extend Moore’s Law and propel IoT adoption.


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