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Chip Champs

A sneak peak at the new top processors

2 min read

The IEEE's International Solid-State Circuits Conference, which will convene next month in San Francisco, gives the world's top circuit designers their annual opportunity to one-up each other. Who'll walk away with bragging rights? Here's a sample:

IBM is presenting its zEnterprise 196 chip, which it claims is the fastest commercial microprocessor on the planet. The chip, built using IBM's 45-nanometer, silicon-on-insulator process, is the first to break the 5-gigahertz barrier. To make the best use of such high frequencies, IBM engineers had to come up with ways to improve the chip's consumption and distribution of power. The processor also includes a rarity in CPUs: a 30-megabyte high-speed dynamic RAM cache.

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The Transistor at 75

The past, present, and future of the modern world’s most important invention

2 min read
A photo of a birthday cake with 75 written on it.
Lisa Sheehan

Seventy-five years is a long time. It’s so long that most of us don’t remember a time before the transistor, and long enough for many engineers to have devoted entire careers to its use and development. In honor of this most important of technological achievements, this issue’s package of articles explores the transistor’s historical journey and potential future.

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