Intel has developed new "3D transistor" technology
Intel has developed new "3D transistor" technology which it said will help make computer chips cheaper and more efficient.
The 3D or tri-gate switches have been created by adding a "fin" to the base of the transistor, with the architecture allowing for more computing power to be packed in a processor.
Chips containing the switches also consume less power than conventional processors, which typically consist of arrays of transistors without any "depth".
Experts believe the new design is the most significant evolution in the silicon transistor since the 1950s when the integrated circuit was invented.
The idea of 3D transistors has been around for years, but none of the manufacturers experimenting with the technology found a way to mass produce them, until now.
For Intel, the smaller processors running on low power could provide a foothold in the smartphones and tablet market where it has not been able to make much of an impact with its energy-consuming chips.
Intel expects chips incorporating the new transistors to go into full production this year and the first computers to feature the processors are expected to arrive in the market in 2012.
Copyright Press Association 2011