by Bill Grey,
Director of Research and Development
2009 was a tough year and it is good to see the Semiconductor industry coming back. With development projects ramping up, here is a peek at the new technologies coming out this year:
AMD has some new 45 nm Phenom II and Athalon II CPUs out and has the 6-core 45 nm Thuban CPU coming out later in Q2. 2011 will follow with a Llano 32 nm quad-core APU and 32 nm Bulldozer core CPU called Zambezi with up to 8 cores.
Intel has 32 nm rolling strong with the release of the Clarkdale CPU with 2 cores this quarter. They will follow up with the Gulftown processor around mid-year with 6 cores.
It doesn’t look like processing power will be much of a problem any more. =)
For developers, Microsoft released Visual Studio 2010 and .NET 4.0 in April. More information may be found at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb386063(VS.100).aspx.
Among the changes that got me excited are:
- better support for parallel code development and debugging
- debugging of mixed-mode native and managed code on 64-bit operating systems
- the Visual F# programming language
- reference highlighting in the editor (finally!)
- call hierarchy navigation for C# and C++
- box selection for copy/paste (finally!)
- .NET background garbage collection instead of concurrent garbage collection for better performance
- .NET tuple objects for structured data
- .NET memory-mapped files (shared memory)
- .NET String.IsNullOrWhiteSpace method indicates whether a string is null, empty, or consists only of white-space
- Managed Extensibility Framework (MEF) to build extensible and composable applications
Office 2010 comes out the first half of this year with some new collaboration features such as co-authoring and PowerPoint presentation broadcasting: http://www.microsoft.com/office/2010/en/whats-new/default.aspx.
On the Windows side, Windows 7 is here in 32-bit and 64-bit flavors and is being adopted much faster than Vista was when it released. Windows Server 2008 R2 is out for the server platform. For embedded systems, Windows Embedded Standard 2009 has replaced Windows XP Embedded and a new version is on the way called Windows Embedded Standard 7 (Windows 7 based).
How many semiconductor manufacturing tools will need or will go to a 64 bit operating system this year?
One item that could spur the move to Windows 7 is a change in hard drive technology that is not targeted to be supported by Windows XP. Hard drives are moving from 512 byte sectors to 4 kilobyte sectors and will be incompatible with Windows XP. Some of the smarter drives may have a compatibility mode for Windows XP, but at a cost of reduced performance. This will start in early 2011. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8557144.stm.
Would you be interested in learning more about these emerging technologies and their effect on Cimetrix products? If there is a significant interest, Cimetrix plans to host a webinar on this topic in the near future.