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Intel gazes into its silicon crystal ball

It's a long wafer the company to look...
Written by Julian Goldsmith, Contributor

It's a long wafer the company to look...

Intel will this week discuss plans to develop a radically memory technology at a conference in San Francisco. Based on a method called ovonics by its inventor Stanford Ovshinsky, the technology makes use of materials which can be altered on the atomic level. Intel invested in a company, Ovonyx set up by former Micron Technology CTO, Tyler Lowry two years ago. At the moment Intel depends on flash memory chips for memory revenues but these are relatively slow and only have a useful life of about a million rewrites. According to Intel, Ovonics solves both of these problems. Intel vice president in charge of the research told the Wall Street Journal that so far the company had registered a tenfold increase in useful life with the new technology and that Intel hoped to replace flash memory with ovonics chips within five years. Closer to the present is Intel's forthcoming debut of its McKinley microprocessor, which should be on sale by the summer. The McKinley chip will extend Intel's reach into the 64-bit processing arena. The chip's form factor is unusually large but it contains additional circuitry which will give it a power boost of two and half times the speed of conventional microprocessors, according to an Intel spokesman.
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