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Intel to Reveal Design of Faster Transistor

Bloomberg News

Intel Corp. will showcase a new type of transistor next week as the biggest maker of computer chips looks for ways to build devices that are 500 times faster than today’s yet don’t need too much energy.

The so-called TeraHertz transistors, still being researched at Intel and scheduled for release as early as 2005, operate at a speed of 1,000 gigahertz. They generate little heat and will use only about as much power as today’s best 2-GHz chips, Intel said.

Intel has been pressing developers to increase the speed of computer processors while reducing the power needed to run them. The TeraHertz transistor--a complete redesign of current parts that combines three technical challenges and represents a major shift in Intel’s manufacturing practices--would accomplish both tasks.

These transistors will switch on and off a trillion times a second to regulate the flow of electricity in chips. It would take a person 15,000 years to do the same thing with a light switch.

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The Santa Clara-based company will reveal technical details of the design at a Dec. 3 conference in Washington. Intel shares rose 25 cents to $31.06 on Friday on Nasdaq. They’ve gained 24% in the last month.


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