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Intel plans 'stacked' circuits as chipmaker looks to regain its lead

Intel has announced that it has developed a way to stack its computing circuits on top of one another in a bid to regain the lead in chip manufacturing technology, that it has lost to rivals in recent years.

As transistors have grown smaller Intel, the world’s biggest maker of computing chips for personal computers and data centres, has fallen years behind schedule on its own plans.

In July the company revealed that chips featuring its newest 10-nanonmeter manufacturing technology would not be ready until the holiday season of 2019.

In contrast competitors such as Nvidia and Qualcomm have stopped manufacturing chips and outsourced the work to firms like TSMC, which recently unveiled it newest generation of chipmaking technology and in the process is now making the industry's smallest chips.

According to a report from Reuters, Intel now has technology to stack computing circuits on top of each other and wire them together with speedy connections, enabling it to pack more onto a single chip. While stacking has been used in memory chips before, it would be the first time Intel will have successfully stacked the so-called “logic” chips that handle computing tasks.

The stacking technology will be available in the second half of next year, according to Intel, and it also intends to break up its chip designs into smaller units called “chiplets” so that memory and computing chips, for example, can be stacked in different combinations.

Analysts believe that such a move will give Intel greater flexibility and the ability to move faster in the market.

Neil Tyler

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