The nanometer race is reaching extraordinary limits. IBM has announced the creation of the world’s first 2nm chip. In this way, the technology giant is putting itself at the forefront of processor manufacturing technology, but it still has a long way to go and challenges to overcome.
As reported by the company, it has managed to place “50 billion transistors on a chip the size of a fingernail”. A feat that makes it possible to considerably reduce the final size that the processor will have, increase its performance and reduce its power consumption.
For example, IBM’s 2nm chips would allow manufacturers to create processors with the same power as the current 7nm chips, but using 75% less energy. However, the new processors manufactured under 2nm lithographic processes would pursue a balance between performance and energy efficiency. In other words: they will not only offer lower power consumption at the same power level as 7nm processors, but will also enable higher performance levels.
The advantages of these chips could directly impact the battery life of cell phones, being four times longer compared to 7nm. IBM believes that smartphones could be charged every four days, an advantage that many users would welcome.
But 2nm chips are not only intended for phones; laptops and self-driving vehicles will also benefit. While the former will have greater speed and lower battery consumption, the latter will react more quickly to situations on the road.
And, unsurprisingly, 2nm chips will get along very well with 5G technologies, the very future 6G, data centers and, surprisingly, quantum computing. In other words, the possibilities it brings are very large and IBM is getting there ahead of its competitors.
As mentioned at the beginning, reducing the number of nanometers in chip manufacturing processes is a race. Apple, with TSMC, launched its first 5nm chip last year. AMD and Qualcomm continue at 7nm. Intel, meanwhile, is still stuck at 14nm, but with promises of improvement.
IBM, however, still has a long way to go. Having arrived at building 2nm chips is a very important step, but manufacturing them on a large scale is a huge challenge. The computing giant has not mentioned when the first devices with these features would reach the consumer market.