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  1. Technology
August 23, 1998


By CBR Staff Writer

Few people know Intel’s long-term semiconductor plans better than Gadi Singer, the company’s general manager for design technology. While today’s top-of-the range Pentium processors are built using 0.25 micron technology and run at clock speeds of 400Mhz and 440Mhz, Singer recently told the Design Automation Conference in San Francisco that within 18 months to two years you can expect 0.18 micron designs with frequencies approaching 1Ghz. Looking further down the road, he added: Designs running at 1.7Ghz will be in the market within the next five years, and 0.1 micron chips running at 3.3Ghz are on the radar. That just confirms, he says, that there is no end in sight for Moore’s Law the longstanding assumption that microprocessor performance can be doubled every 18 months. But Singer does foresee one ‘gating’ factor over the next five years the prospect that the tools for designing such complex chips will not be up to the job. Singer chides major electronic design automation software vendors such as Cadence, Synopsys and Mentor Graphics for not doing enough to ensure their products will be capable of dealing with the issues raised by such ‘nanometer’ design. That should be enough to at least spark off a product review in those companies. Intel’s annual budget on electronic design systems alone is $1.5bn.

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