Intel and IBM have independently developed new ways to make transistors, keeping Moore’s Law going for at least two more generations of chips—down to 22 nm. Both methods involve new insulators made out of hafnium, which can be made thicker to reduce current leakage without reducing the electric charge.
If you want to skip to why you should care, basically it means faster chips that run cooler and consume less power. (Think more cores—lots of ’em—and mobile devices.) It also means that Intel maintains a nine-month lead over everybody else, with their chips made with the new tech dropping later this year, while IBM’s don’t roll out til ’08.
P.S. Neither article is written very clearly, so I recommend reading both of them.
Moore’s Law seen extended in chip breakthrough [Reuters]
If seeing chip factories from the inside is your thing, Robby Scoble’s got some videos here.