Intel has made a short but sweet promotional video. “From Sand to Silicon” showcases the fabrication process of the modern day processor. Roughly five decades ago you could actually pull a PCB from most consumer devices and count the transistors on it with one hand. A couple of decades after that and we saw integrated circuits that equaled maybe a hundred to a thousand. Those were on chips ranging from the size of a pen cap to nearly that of a credit card. Fast forward to now and current manufacturing can pack billions onto wafers the size of a finger nail.
There’s a fascinating slide that breezes by and you can miss it if you blink about a minute in. The slide actually shows in good detail the process described in the title. Going from sand to numerous treatments before the first die is packaged we get a glimpse of the modern day technological miracle.
It all comes back to the same thing
There is no shortage of articles here at The FPS Review documenting new releases of processors. New bits of info pop up almost every day from each big name in the field of CPU’s or GPU’s. We even see research institutes experimenting with new takes on old ideas just as the largest companies push onward on the same paths. They can be for things as large as a data center or as small as a cell phone but all have ties to this very same process. Ironically though, at the end of the day, we still crave more power to do more things. It is a never ending cycle. From the casual gamer at home who wants some more frames or improved image quality to a researcher looking for a breakthrough it all comes back to the advancements in processor fabrication processes.