Design Challenges at 22nm Article

Article: 22nm Design Challenges at ISSCC 2011
By: David Kanter (, March 14, 2011 9:20 pm
Room: Moderated Discussions
Linus Torvalds ( on 3/14/11 wrote:
>Daniel Bizo ( on 3/14/11 wrote:
>>A conclusion not articulated by the article itself is that the IDM model becomes
>>even more desirable for those who can economically afford and sustain it. Chip
>>desingers which can keep financing cutting edge process R&D and manufacturing will
>>increasingly levarage the integrated model unless they badly screw up on the architectural side.
>Well, the other side of that is the question about what
>happens when shrinking ends. Oh, I'm sure that process
>tweaking will go on for a long time (new materials, new
>tricks like straining, etc etc), but the advantages will
>likely not be as stunning.

So I find myself asking that questions on a fairly regular basis. The strange thing is that every time I've asked someone at Intel when they will reach the limit...I tend to get the same answer: "We are pretty confident looking 10 years out...but any further is unclear."

And 10 years is a damn long in this world...

>So what happens to your IDM advantage when you hit 10nm
>(or whatever the practical limit ends up being) and your
>process improvements end up being a much more incremental
>than the huge 70% scaling we see now?

Yeah, that is a big question. I have a feeling there will be some significantly gut-wrenching changes when this happens.

>So it can certainly go either way. What happens if the
>process becomes more of a "commodity"? Sure, it's going to
>be an extremely expensive commodity, but it's going
>to change things when people realize that you can't shrink
>features every eighteen months.

Well I think it's possible that physical scaling may cease before scaling does. For instance, it's possible to calculate multiple bits at once (like multi-bit flash memory), although I have no real idea how that would work in practice.

>Yes, yes, we're some time off. And clearly subtle process
>tweaks will be important, and there will be differences
>between processes - some players will be better than >others.
>But right now I think Intel has a big advantage from being
>a year or two ahead of people in shrinks.

That's for sure.

>So what happens if that kind of timing advantage isn't
>about "70% more dense, 30% lower power, 30% faster" any
>more (or whatever: pick your tradeoffs from shrinking), but
>ends up being much smaller? Being a few years more advanced
>isn't nearly as big advantage if that means "5% lower
>leakage" or something like that.

I think you'd see things slowing. Nobody's going to spend prodigious sums of money to get a minuscule edge over the competition.

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TopicPosted ByDate
Design Challenges at 22nm ArticleDavid Kanter2011/03/14 01:36 AM
  Design Challenges at 22nm ArticleDean Calver2011/03/14 02:06 AM
    Design Challenges at 22nm ArticleDavid Kanter2011/03/14 09:06 PM
      Design Challenges at 22nm Articlesavantu2011/03/15 05:25 AM
  Roots of this problem go way back.someone2011/03/14 07:00 AM
    EducationMoritz2011/03/15 04:42 AM
      Educationsomeone2011/03/15 07:26 AM
        EducationMoritz2011/03/15 12:44 PM
        Educationsylt2011/03/18 10:31 AM
    Roots of this problem go way back.Rob Thorpe2011/03/15 06:25 AM
      Roots of this problem go way back.someone2011/03/15 07:20 AM
        Roots of this problem go way back.Nathan Monson2011/03/15 09:17 AM
          Roots of this problem go way back.mpx2011/03/15 12:55 PM
            Roots of this problem go way back.Mark Roulo2011/03/15 02:34 PM
            Roots of this problem go way back.Rob Thorpe2011/03/15 04:42 PM
              Roots of this problem go way back.Paul2011/03/15 05:03 PM
    Roots of this problem go way back.Dean Kent2011/03/15 08:11 AM
  Design Challenges at 22nm ArticleDaniel Bizo2011/03/14 07:06 AM
    Design Challenges at 22nm ArticleLinus Torvalds2011/03/14 09:48 AM
      Design Challenges at 22nm ArticleDavid Kanter2011/03/14 09:20 PM
      Design Challenges at 22nm ArticleDean Kent2011/03/15 08:16 AM
    Design Challenges at 22nm ArticleDavid Kanter2011/03/14 10:05 AM
      Could you elaborate?Daniel Bizó2011/03/16 06:43 AM
        IDM trade offsDavid Kanter2011/03/16 10:54 AM
  Design Challenges at 22nm ArticleTianyi2012/10/18 12:24 AM
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