The tick-tock development cycle is in full swing at Intel. As the chipmaker readies shipments of 32-nm microprocessors and develops its next-gen, 32-nm Sandy Bridge architecture, it's also working hard on 22-nm high-k metal gate process technology. Earlier at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, CEO Paul Otellini displayed the fruits of that labor (PDF)—the world's first working 22-nm chips.
Now, the new 22-nm silicon doesn't include a future processor capable of self-awareness. Rather, Intel has started off by building SRAM memory and logic circuits to test the process. Check it out:
The die above packs an eye-popping 2.9 billion transistors, including SRAM cells with 0.108 and 0.092 μm² footprints. The larger cells are "optimized for low voltage operation," while Intel tweaked their smaller counterparts for high density. As a matter of fact, the company says its 0.092 μm² design is "the smallest SRAM cell in working circuits reported to date."