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Frozen chips run at 500GHz

Antony Savvas

IBM is developing a chip freezing technology to allow microprocessors to run at vastly greater speeds.

 

Big Blue has already pushed one silicon chip to run at 500GHz using its formula. When chips run at such high speeds they generate substantial amounts of heat and this is one reason why typical commercial dual-core chips currently run at maximums of between 2.5GHz and 3.5GHz.

 

IBM said such high-speed chips could find new applications in commercial communications systems, space exploration, defence electronics and remote sensing.

 

To achieve the high speeds, researchers at IBM and Georgia Tech's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering built a prototype silicon-germanium (SiGe) chip that ran at 350GHz at room temperature.

 

The researchers then used liquid helium to freeze the microprocessor to 451 degrees below zero Fahrenheit and pushed the chip’s processing speed to 500GHz.

 

They now think they can double this speed to 1,000GHz - 1 Terahertz.

 


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