Intel’s new chips are 37 percent faster than the company’s current ones when operating at low voltages to keep power consumption low. And they require half the power to perform at a given switching speed. Power consumption is important in handheld devices because it determines how long the battery lasts. It’s also crucial in the power-hungry server farms that make up the cloud.
The best chips on the market today use planar transistors that are 32 nanometers in size. The next generation will use 22-nanometer transistors. To pack more processing power into that smaller size without sending power requirements through the roof, the company had to turn to a new design.