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IBM creates 2nm chip comparable to 7nm performance for far less power

A 2 nm wafer fabricated at IBM Research's Albany facility. The wafer contains hundreds of individual chips. Courtesy of IBM

If you are a Moore’s Law fan then IBM has just announced a technological innovation that should be of interest. This as the company has manufactured a 2 nanometer computer chip.

The breakthrough is a world first and sees IBM place 50 billion transistors on a chip the size of your fingernail.

“Demand for increased chip performance and energy efficiency continues to rise, especially in the era of hybrid cloud, AI, and the Internet of Things. IBM’s new 2 nm chip technology helps advance the state-of-the-art in the semiconductor industry, addressing this growing demand,” explains the company in an official announcement for the newly developed innovation.

According to IBM, this new architecture will be capable of helping silicon makers yield a 45 percent increase in performance compared to that of the latest 7nm chips. Added to this is the fact that it requires 75 percent less energy to operate, which is a massive improvement in and of itself.

A close-up of a 2nm wafer fabricated at IBM Research’s Albany facility.

While it has not been placed in a fully fledged device just yet, IBM says it could result in quadrupling the battery life of a smartphone compared to 7nm chips. This means that charging could theoretically be needed once in every four days.

The company is also touting significant overall improvements for notebooks and autonomous vehicles with this new technological breakthrough.

“The IBM innovation reflected in this new 2 nm chip is essential to the entire semiconductor and IT industry,” notes Darío Gil, SVP and director of IBM Research.

“It is the product of IBM’s approach of taking on hard tech challenges and a demonstration of how breakthroughs can result from sustained investments and a collaborative R&D ecosystem approach,” he adds.

For now, no timeframe has been outlined by IBM as to when these new 2nm chips will make their way to devices, especially as building them at scale for mass production remains a challenge for now. Either way, it will take a couple of years to make its way to market.

That said, the 5nm chips showcased by Apple and Huawei this year could be replaced by 2nm ones soon, provided those companies are willing to work with IBM.

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