Intel showed off its mobile chip roadmap today at MWC 2012, featuring an ambitious plan that Intel CEO Paul Otellini believes will “light a fire under” Apple, Samsung, and LG. For this year, the company has set 32nm architecture chips with its Medfield Atom Z2460 processors. (Make sure to check out our hands-on with the Intel Orange “Santa Clara” Medfield phone). But next year, it’s shrinking its chips down to a new 22nm process and then further to 14nm by 2014.
At this pace, Intel is moving faster than Moore’s Law, according to which the number of transistors that can fit into an integrated circuit doubles about every two years. At the same time, the chips will either have the same performance but half the size or have the same size but double the performance. With 14nm, Intel is getting very close to reaching the theoretical limit of silicon, which is around 9nm to 11nm. However, the company has mentioned before that it expects to eventually jump to 8nm by 2015.
Intel believes that the mobile market moves at a far faster pace than desktops and hence the company will be going be shrinking down the slicon aggressively. One major reason Intel will be able to go at such a rapid pace is its adoption of FinFETs next year, which will allow a single transistor to act as a multi-gate device. In this way, one transistor can perform much more calculations than in a traditional system and hence reduce the number of electrodes and consequently the size of chips. Furthermore, Otellini affirmed that Intel had plenty of manufacturing capacity for both PC and non-PC devices.