Race to develop a better chip

TEXT OF STORY

TESS VIGELAND: Transistors and chips are the building blocks of processors found in everything from your cell phone to your digital music player. IBM won a victory yesterday in the war to make them smaller and faster, but it can't afford to rest. Janet Babin reports from the Innovations Desk at North Carolina Public Radio.


JANET BABIN: IBM officials say they've created the world's fastest silicon chip. It runs 100 times faster than the chips we use now. But it probably won't hold the record for long. Most experts believe chips will get smaller and speedier for another five years. And then . . .
MICHAEL KANELLOS: "Right now, nobody knows."

Michael Kanellos is an editor at CNETNews.com.

KANELLOS: "People expect to be able to keep shrinking transistors and making smaller and more powerful chips, but frankly they don't know how they're going to do it. They're really going to have to be creative at that point."

By using uber-tiny carbon nano tubes or other new materials in place of the old silicon transistor standby.

Kanellos expects Texas Instruments, Intel, Advanced Micro Devices and Samsung to challenge IBM's chip in coming months. And accomplishments in the lab will eventually filter down to consumers. Picture a cell phone that lets you watch TV and hold a video conference at the same time.

I'm Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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