The transistors on such chips are so small that more than 30 million can fit onto the head of a pin. How small they are is critical to the fight between Intel and AMD, because having more transistors on a single slice of silicon raises performance while lowering manufacturing costs.
The new processors also are made with materials that reduce the amount of electric current escaping from transistors, a major problem as chip parts shrink to the atomic scale.
Intel's new factory, with more than 1,000 workers, is so big that more than 17 football fields could fit in it. Its products will go on sale Nov. 12. AMD is aiming for the middle of next year to roll out chips based on its own new technique, developed in partnership with IBM, but it has not provided more specifics.
Intel is the largest chipmaker in the world, with $27.6 billion dollars in sales through the first three quarters of 2007.