Chapter 302: Graphene CPU
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
After listening to Tang Shengwu’s introduction, Chen Jin nodded. He was suddenly reminded of something. He looked at Ling Jundong, who was sitting to his left. “Old Ling, didn’t Intel Corporation release a desktop CPU product last month? It is said that the performance exceeds our ‘Qinglong Second Generation.’ Is this true?” He vaguely remembered the many aggravating comments that appeared on the comment section below his Weibo some time ago. Many of those comments were written in English. His English was poor, but he noticed words like “F**k” and the like. So, of course, he realized that they were not saying anything good.
“Yes, it’s true.” Ling Jundong nodded. “The performance of the Qinglong Second Generation CPU has been surpassed by Intel’s iX-10000 CPU. Their counterattacks are very rapid. But the method that they employed was very extreme. They doubled the area of the chip wafer and increased the working frequency to 8 GHz. Finally, it exceeded the running benchmark of our Qinglong Second Gen. It was a reversal. But there is not much significance to this product. The maximum power consumption of this CPU is more than 400 watts. It’s like a fire dragon, it gets so hot one can fry an egg on it. It does not have a high commercial value. Intel just wanted to prove that they have not lost. The product can hardly be sold.” Intel merely won back their face and reputation. They were still steadily losing ground in the market.
“An operating frequency of 8GHZ; wouldn’t the CPU be smoking from the get-go?” Chen Jin asked, frowning. Silicon chips could withstand up to an operating frequency 5GHZ, which was basically the upper limit. How did they achieve an operating frequency of 8GHZ without the CPU catching fire?
“They used the second generation of graphene cooling technology; the heat dissipation capacity was been greatly improved. If it was also cooled by liquid nitrogen, the frequency of the CPU could even be overclocked to 10GHZ. Heat could still be quickly removed so that the CPU could work normally. From this point of view, Intel’s product does have some extraordinary features. Domestic DIY players only overclocked to 6.8GHZ on our Susaku Second Generation CPU. We need to continue to catch up in some areas,” Ling Jundong explained.
In addition, Intel planned to conquer the production techniques of the 7-nanometer CPU within 18 months. Its performance would double again. It also started the development of a new architecture and strove to achieve a more advanced architecture than the X86 within two years. With this, they planned to achieve the standard of the “Weave architecture.” In response to the challenge posed by Xing Hai Technologies, Intel Corporation mobilized all of its resources. They completely abandoned the strategy of “eking out a maximum number of updates with minimal changes in each update.” Instead, they introduced updates with significant changes and improvements every year. They had to suppress Xing Hai Technologies!
However… In Chen Jin’s view, these moves by Intel were just the final struggle of a company facing imminent death. Xing Hai Technologies would not subsequently follow suit by entering the field of the 7-nanometer. Instead, it would open and go straight onto another race track, leaving Intel behind forever! Because there was a CPU made of a particular material that had much brighter prospects than the CPU made of silicon crystal! A graphene CPU! The silicon chip came to an end; the graphene chip was the real future.
In addition to the Materials Research Center, there was also a graphene CPU R&D team in the chip research center of Xing Hai Technologies. The small team was established more than two years ago. Chen Jin also spent a lot of money and resources on this team and provided a lot of high-value information. In addition, the material research institute completely conquered the technology to obtain graphene.
Regarding the graphene CPU that he hoped for, the center recently produced some laboratory products. But Chen Jin did not know the specific performances of the products in detail. He got his Vice President Liang Ying to contact the research center. In the video conference, Chen Jin consulted some issues with the project leader, Rong Weizhi. “Team leader Rong, you said that you’ve created some laboratory products, how is the performance of these products?”
Rong Weizhi was a very young man in his early thirties. He was a famous top student in his studies. He had a haughty personality and was a perfectionist. He was not only highly demanding towards himself but also others as well. Therefore, he was not very sociable and did not fit in. Many people lambasted him behind his back, saying that he had a very high IQ, but zero emotional intelligence. Fortunately, this aspect of his personality did not present any delays to the progress of the project. Hence, Chen Jin was not particularly concerned.
“No, the product performance is not good enough, it is all garbage!” Rong Weizhi shook his head. “We’ve determined the technical route of the graphene CPU very early on. There is not many issues there. What we are solely concentrating on right now is finding ways to reduce the volume of the graphene transistor. In August last year, we successfully produced the first graphene transistor, which measured 100 microns and is far from the commercial standard. We are constantly improving and shrinking the size of the transistor. After one month, we compressed the size to 10 microns. We continued to improve and shrink the transistor. It was compressed to 1 micron, 600 nanometers, 500 nanometers, 400 nanometers, 300 nanometers… Lately, we have been able to reduce the size by 100 nanometers per month. In August this year, we’ve finally reduced the size of the graphene transistor to 100 nanometers. But, it suddenly became difficult after this. We have not achieved remarkable results in the past two months. The size of 100 nanometers is absolutely unacceptable. It cannot meet commercial standards. It must be compressed to 50-30 nanometers or less. Only then will it be possible for it to replace the traditional silicon CPU.” Rong Weizhi shook his head repeatedly. He was extremely dissatisfied with the progress made so far.
100 nanometers? Chen Jin was struck with a thought and asked, “What is its maximum operating frequency after you compress the graphene CPU to 100 nanometers?”
“100GHZ.” Rong Weizhi replied, “It is easy to achieve this operating frequency. The heat created by graphene transistors is only one-thousandth that of traditional silicon transistors. The thermal conductivity is far better than that of silicon. In theory, the operating frequency of the graphene CPU can be raised to 1THZ, with minimum heat produced.”
Chen Jin was rather surprised. An operating frequency of 1THZ could be described as extremely exaggerated. It meant that the efficiency of a graphene transistor was approximately equal to 1,000 silicon transistors. Even with a similar area, the number of transistors integrated into a 10-nanometer process chip was about one hundred times that of a 100-nanometer process chip. However, graphene transistors could have an operating frequency that was thousands of times higher. In summary, the graphene CPU made via the 100-nanometer process had a high commercial value.
For example, it could be used in the processor for supercomputers. Even if the manufacturing process was relatively backward, the computing speed would not be affected much if the operating frequency was set to 100GHZ. On the other hand, the electricity cost would be reduced by at least 90%. Using a supercomputer with an operating speed of 100 Flops that racked up an annual electricity bill exceeding $300 million as an example, more than $270 million would be saved in annual electricity bills with the use of the graphene CPU. The money saved from the electricity bill could more or less cover the purchase of the CPU.
However, due to Rong Weizhi’s perfectionism, the graphene CPU that was ready for commercial use was actually delayed for two months.
Chen Jin immediately criticized him, “The process of 100 nanometers is enough. Why are you only telling me this now? It was delayed for more than 10 days for nothing.”
“Sorry, President Chen, this is my fault. I am not fully aware of its value.” Rong Weizhi realized his mistake. He held his head between his hands and apologized.
Chen Jin shook his head and did not continue to criticize him. Instead, he issued two orders. First, they would continue to explore the process of creating a smaller graphene CPU. Second, they would immediately make the 100-nanometer process graphene CPU commercially available while developing a supercomputer that had a smaller power consumption! After all, supercomputers were just too power-hungry. Moreover, Xing Hai Technologies had a large number of large servers and supercomputers. They had more than 30 supercomputers. They could open an internet cafe specializing in supercomputers.
What followed was naturally a totally ridiculous electricity bill. The company spent at least three or four billion dollars in electricity bills a year. Even if rich people such as Chen Jin could not completely ignore this kind of spending… How nice would it be to reduce some of the electricity bills?
Therefore, they could not delay the use of the graphene CPU.