The Tick-Tock Model Through the Years

Intel’s “tick-tock” model inspires confidence in the future of microprocessors and the devices that depend on them. Following this model, Intel commits to—and has successfully delivered—continued innovations in manufacturing process technology and processor microarchitecture in alternating “tick” and “tock” cycles.

A Tick Advances Manufacturing Technology

With every "tick" cycle, look for Intel to advance manufacturing process technology and continue to deliver the expected benefits of Moore’s Law to users. The typical increase in transistor density enables new capabilities, higher performance levels, and greater energy efficiency—all within a smaller, more capable version of the previous “tock” microarchitecture.

For example, a “tick” coincided with the Intel introduction of 3D tri-gate transistors with the 22 nm manufacturing process technology. This new technology delivers better performance and extends the battery life of smartphones, tablets, and the new, incredibly slim Ultrabook™ devices.

A Tock Delivers New Microarchitecture

In alternating “tock” cycles, expect Intel to use the previous “tick” cycle’s manufacturing process technologies to introduce the next big innovation in processor microarchitecture. Intel® microarchitecture advancements seek to improve energy efficiency and performance as well as functionality and density of features such as hardware-supported video transcoding, encryption/decryption, and other integrated capabilities.

Predictable Processor Advancements

Intel design teams work in parallel around the globe to deliver coordinated technology advances inspired by the tick-tock model. A yearly product cadence moves the industry forward in a predictable fashion that can be planned in advance. 

14 nm 3D transistors: Offering unprecedented performance and efficiency >

Investing in the Industry

Thousands of vendors depend on Intel® processors for product development. To help them forge ahead with new product advancements, Intel invests heavily in research that drives innovations at the silicon level and establishes new, industry-wide standards. Combined with the predictability of Intel’s tick-tock model, these efforts promote faster, more efficient innovation throughout the industry—year-in and year-out.

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14 nm Transistor Explained—Following the Path of Moore’s Law

Intel Fellow Mark Bohr discusses the new 14 nm transistor process and how the tri-gate fins are now taller, thinner, and closer together, enabling more performance, less active power, and longer battery life for greater computing experiences.

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Mark Bohr Gets Small: 22 nm Explained

The Intel® 3D tri-gate transistor, and the ability to manufacture it in high volume, mark a dramatic change in the fundamental structure of the computer chip. Learn more about the history of transistors.

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