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Intel Hardware

TSMC and Global Foundries Plan Risky Process Jump As Intel Unveils 22nm SoC 60

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the transistor-envy dept.
MrSeb writes with news on the happenings with next generation fabrication processes. From the article: "... Intel's 22nm SoC unveil is important for a host of reasons. As process nodes shrink and more components move on-die, the characteristics of each new node have become particularly important. 22nm isn't a new node for Intel; it debuted the technology last year with Ivy Bridge, but SoCs are more complex than CPU designs and create their own set of challenges. Like its 22nm Ivy Bridge CPUs, the upcoming 22nm SoCs rely on Intel's Tri-Gate implementation of FinFET technology. According to Intel engineer Mark Bohr, the 3D transistor structure is the principle reason why the company's 22nm technology is as strong as it is. Earlier this year, we brought you news that Nvidia was deeply concerned about manufacturing economics and the relative strength of TSMC's sub-28nm planar roadmap. Morris Chang, TSMC's CEO, has since admitted that such concerns are valid, given that performance and power are only expected to increase by 20-25% as compared to 28nm. The challenge for both TSMC and GlobalFoundries is going to be how to match the performance of Intel's 22nm technology with their own 28nm products. 20nm looks like it won't be able to do so, which is why both companies are emphasizing their plans to move to 16nm/14nm ahead of schedule. There's some variation on which node comes next; both GlobalFoundries and Intel are talking up 14nm; TSMC is implying a quick jump to 16nm. Will it work? Unknown. TSMC and GlobalFoundries both have excellent engineers, but FinFET is a difficult technology to deploy. Ramping it up more quickly than expected while simultaneously bringing up a new process may be more difficult than either company anticipates."
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TSMC and Global Foundries Plan Risky Process Jump As Intel Unveils 22nm SoC

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  • SoC (Score:5, Informative)

    by Wiggin (97119) on Monday December 10, 2012 @08:21PM (#42247543)

    In case anyone else was wondering, SoC stands for System on a Chip [wikipedia.org]

  • by erice (13380) on Monday December 10, 2012 @08:29PM (#42247621) Homepage

    If you read the announcements, you will weasel words like "14nm class". The bottom line is: these are not 14nm processes. It would be more accurate to call them 20nm with FinFets. Global Foundries process does reduce some parameters from their 20nm planer but there is nothing 14nm about it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I don't care if it's "real" 14nm or fake. What counts is how fast the resulting chips are, and how many MIPS/Watt they achieve. At the end of the day, the whole stuff is insistinguishable from magic [youtube.com].

      • by Bengie (1121981)
        True, but MIPS/Watt is highly correlated with transistor size, which is why people care about size. Plus transistor size usually predicts prices. As a given process matures, eventual pricing approaches the cost of the silicon, which is mostly fixed. Transistor size directly affects the size of a chip.
    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday December 10, 2012 @08:55PM (#42247789)

      ...there is nothing 14nm about it.

      Add more Gs to it. That's what the telcos did. They bring a 2G, you bring a 3G. They bring a 3G, you bring a 4G. That's the chic--marketing way! Then we took that whole gigabyte thing with harddrives and just rounded down. Asking companies to compete based on actual specifications instead of marketing bullshit is communist. If you support that kind of commie non-sense then you're the reason we're losing jobs to China. Blah blah blah... *barfs*

      • They have more of a marketing issue because they are up against someone with better technology. Intel tends to be around a node ahead of everyone else because they invest massive amounts in to R&D, billions a year.

        So it isn't like the telcos trying to market "moar Gzzzz!!!11" to consumers, it is that they are trying to figure out a way to catch Intel.

    • by iggymanz (596061)

      quite true and I'm sad. I want the end of the silicon roadmap as soon as possible

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      If you read the announcements, you will weasel words like "14nm class". The bottom line is: these are not 14nm processes. It would be more accurate to call them 20nm with FinFets. Global Foundries process does reduce some parameters from their 20nm planer but there is nothing 14nm about it.

      The irony also is that it's a SoC, so most of the transistors there are NOT going to be "14nm" or "22nm" or whatever. They're going to be larger.

      Why? Several things decide the size of a transistor - first, the use of the

  • Where is the damn article?? I don't see any link to the actual article. Is this the new slashdot?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is obviously unfair of Intel to be out innovating the rest of the market like this. We should curb it somehow

  • It took Intel 10 years to take FinFET from concept to production, yet TMSC are claiming they can do it in only 2 years. Is that even feasible? Even if it is, doesn't Intel have patents on the tech?

    • yet TMSC are claiming they can do it in only 2 years.

      Where on did you get that piece of information?

      Firstly, FINETs have been a subject of research for quite a while, much of which has been open academic research. So, it's not like TMSC has been doing this in a vacuum.

      Secondly, why do you think TMSC hasn't looked at FINFETs before now?

      • by edxwelch (600979)

        2 years. Yes, that's the time from which TMSC first publicly said they would use it (last year), until when they deliver (2014 according to article).

      • Third, it's not like TMSC hasn't chopped up an intel chip really small and looked at under microscopes.

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