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Chips redesigned to boost computers

SAN FRANCISCO | You’ll need more than 3-D glasses to see what Intel has planned for its next batch of computer chips.

Intel announced Wednesday that the electronic switches on those chips are getting a third dimension — “fins” that jut up from the base to help regulate power consumption. The development means consumers can expect computers to keep getting cheaper and more powerful. It will help Intel compete with low-power chips used in mobile devices.

Chips with the 3-D transistors will be in full production this year and appear in computers in 2012.

Intel has been talking about 3-D or “tri-gate” transistors for nearly a decade, and other companies are experimenting with similar technology. The announcement is noteworthy because Intel has figured out how to manufacture the transistors in mass quantity cost effectively.


Massey: Miners’ families each offered $3 million

CHARLESTON | Massey Energy Co. says it has offered families of the 29 miners killed in last year’s West Virginia coal mine explosion $3 million each to settle their claims.

The detail is contained in a regulatory filing ahead of a proposed buyout by rival Alpha Natural Resources. It’s the first confirmation from the company on the size of its settlement offer.

The document also details how Massey held out for months before accepting a $7.1 billion buyout from Alpha. Massey ultimately secured a sweetened offer of 1.025 shares of Alpha stock plus $10 in cash for each of its shares.


Nintendo cuts Wii price, offers cheaper game set

NEW YORK | Nintendo is dropping the price of its Wii game system by $50 to $150 and cutting the price of several popular games ahead of next year’s launch of the successor to the console.

Starting May 15, the newly priced Wii system will come in either black or white with a “Mario Kart Wii” game and a Wii Wheel accessory, replacing the previously included “Wii Sports” and “Wii Sports Resort” games.

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