interesting article, 90-nm
chips being delayed, experts say -
El. Engr. Time, surfaced today.
The article mentions that only 8% of the chips being manufactured today use the current 130-nanometer design rules. The rest are employing 180- or 250-nanometer features. The pundits quoted in the article say that 90-nanometer features won't really arrive in force until 2005 or 2006.
After thinking about it, I'm speculating that practically all the chips that are being manufactured today go into microwave ovens, cordless phones, and DVD players. And who cares whether or not your microwave has a few more features than it does today?
Hardly anything needs to be implemented in the latest chips, but what is crucial... e. g., computers.
The article says, "Though some chip companies such as Intel will almost certainly disagree, the panelists' comments echo a growing sentiment that chip makers will be forced to shift to a new technology node ever three years rather than every two years as many have managed to do since the 1990s. Technologists at TSMC and, more recently, at Micron Technololgy are among those that have called for slower transitions."
It may be that Intel will continue to leapfrog every other year, while producers of commodity chips will fall behind. Cost may be the real driver behind commodity chips rather than cutting edge technology.
On the other hand, I guess there wouldn't be anything wrong with slowing down semiconductor downsizing. Personally, I'm eager to see it happen, but I guess cost-effectiveness is what make the world go 'round.