3D Chips Will Deliver an Era of Radical Change

Forget about the "Tablet Wars." That's yesterday's news.

The same thing goes for the long-predicted "Death of the PC."

You see, the mainstream media has unleashed a torrent of technology predictions for 2012. They're all a mile wide and an inch deep.

No one seems to get the big picture.

The single most important computing trend that will unfold this year is getting almost no buzz. And yet...

This is the year when the technology sector will enter a whole new dimension. It's called 3D computing.

Make No Mistake About it... This is Huge

Now, I'm not talking about wearing funny glasses while you watch TV.

This is the year Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) plans to hit the market with 3D chips.

This doesn't just put the storied Silicon Valley leader ahead of its competition; it also symbolizes the breakthroughs that will drive the "Era of Radical Change."

Fasten your seat belts folks. As I discussed yesterday, the world is speeding up.

As you are no doubt aware, all manner of computers keep getting smaller - and faster. Like clockwork, chips pack twice as much punch every two years.

Radical Change
Take a look at a cell phone from the early 1990s. You couldn't make a decent call on one and it was nearly as big as a brick.

Today, a smart phone fits in the palm of your hand. It surfs the Web, plays video, and can even pilot an unmanned drone half a world away.

Smaller, Faster, More Powerful than Ever

It's all because of Moore's Law. An Intel co-founder, Gordon Moore predicted that every two years computing power would double. Moore realized high-tech engineers would keep finding new ways to make transistors smaller.

But let's not resort to geek speak. Just remember that the size of all electronics is governed by how many of these little devices we can put on a single chip.

Just like loading up your wallet, when it comes to chips more is better - much better.

Except that every few years the "experts" warn us that we're about to hit a brick wall and our electronics just can't get any smaller.

That's because in the past we could only put all of this key information on a flat surface. At some point you just run out of real estate − unless you can go vertical.

3D Chips Yield Exponential Results

That's where 3D chips come in.

If you can stack a bunch of these tiny transistors on top of each other you can get more output from the same chip.

It's like owning a parking lot and suddenly waking up to see it's now a three-story garage.

Intel says it expects to make chips that run as much as 37% faster. That's a huge increase in speed.

Using Moore's Law, we can predict those same chips will be 148% faster in just four years. That's the power of exponential increases in technology.

Let's face it. If your portfolio showed those kinds of gains you would hardly brush them off.

And yet... naysayers abound.

As reported in The New York Times, industry skeptics believe Intel is sinking billions into unproven technology.

Moreover, the skeptics say the new chips will be too power-hungry to work well in smart phones and tablet computers.

But they are missing the point. If Intel doesn't solve the power problem, someone else will.

I predict 3D computing will become standard throughout the computer industry by the end of this decade.

I also believe that 3D processor technology will find its way into mobile devices and thousands of other products as well.

After all, not long from now we will see billions of digital machines communicating with each other wirelessly. We'll even be wearing computers in the form of smart fabrics, contact lenses and eyeglasses that double as Internet projectors.

In fact, just to keep up with the dizzying pace of innovation in the Era of Radical Change, computers will have to get faster.

You know what that means. Chips will have to go vertical. No question about it.

IBM's Secret Sauce

As it turns out, Intel isn't the only mega-cap tech leader pushing the 3D boundary.

In fact, an alliance between International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) and 3M Company (NYSE: MMM) could result in chips that someday run 1,000 times faster.

The two tech giants are currently working on a breakthrough way of stacking standard processor chips on top of each other. It's called "3D packaging," and it's sort of like building a 10-story high-rise so small you can't see it with the naked eye.

IBM's secret sauce?

It's a unique silicon glue that holds the stack of chips together.

Big Blue hopes to release the first versions of these chip stacks sometime next year.

So far we've only focused on chips that process information.

Turns out several companies are improving the capacity of memory chips by stacking them on top of each other.

This is crucial in a world filled with broadband data. Memory chips provide temporary data storage and can improve a computer's performance.

Look for Micron Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: MU), Samsung Electronics (PINK: SSNLF) and Toshiba Corp. (PINK: TOSBF) to start showing progress on this front later this year.

Still, if our recent experience is any guide, the mainstream media will just gloss over these breakthroughs as well. (They will gloss over this one too − another of my finds that will rock the markets in the near future.)

It will be their loss when they do, since I'm certain to find plenty of good investment opportunities that will take advantage of 3D computing.

So stay tuned. The Era of Radical Change is here.

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About the Author

Michael A. Robinson is a 36-year Silicon Valley veteran and one of the top tech and biotech financial analysts working today. That's because, as a consultant, senior adviser, and board member for Silicon Valley venture capital firms, Michael enjoys privileged access to pioneering CEOs, scientists, and high-profile players. And he brings this entire world of Silicon Valley "insiders" right to you...

  • He was one of five people involved in early meetings for the $160 billion "cloud" computing phenomenon.
  • He was there as Lee Iacocca and Roger Smith, the CEOs of Chrysler and GM, led the robotics revolution that saved the U.S. automotive industry.
  • As cyber-security was becoming a focus of national security, Michael was with Dave DeWalt, the CEO of McAfee, right before Intel acquired his company for $7.8 billion.

This all means the entire world is constantly seeking Michael's insight.

In addition to being a regular guest and panelist on CNBC and Fox Business, he is also a Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer and reporter. His first book Overdrawn: The Bailout of American Savings warned people about the coming financial collapse - years before the word "bailout" became a household word.

Silicon Valley defense publications vie for his analysis. He's worked for Defense Media Network and Signal Magazine, as well as The New York Times, American Enterprise, and The Wall Street Journal.

And even with decades of experience, Michael believes there has never been a moment in time quite like this.

Right now, medical breakthroughs that once took years to develop are moving at a record speed. And that means we are going to see highly lucrative biotech investment opportunities come in fast and furious.

To help you navigate the historic opportunity in biotech, Michael launched the Bio-Tech Profit Alliance.

His other publications include: Strategic Tech Investor, The Nova-X Report, Bio-Technology Profit Alliance and Nexus-9 Network.

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