As Moore’s Law continues, each new generation of semiconductor manufacturing is ushered in by new challenges, hurdles and solutions. At ISSCC 2011, a panel with speakers from Global Foundries, IBM, Intel, Renesas and TSMC discussed manufacturing and circuit design interactions at the upcoming 22nm node. Industry leaders have reached a broad technical consensus, although with several subtle differences. This report explores the key challenges and solutions at 22nm; focusing on variation and co-optimization between design and manufacturing. As a result of the needed collaboration, understanding of physical design and manufacturing is even more critical to cutting edge chip development and achieving good performance, power and yields.
IEDM 2010 Process Technology Update
The integration predicted by Moore’s Law is fundamentally driven by advances in semiconductor manufacturing. One of the key challenges is scaling to ever finer and denser geometries, while improving the performance of transistors. IEDM and the VLSI Symposium are the premier venues to discuss the challenges and opportunities for future process technologies. No commercial 22nm process technologies were presented at IEDM 2010, but in the last two years a number of advances have been disclosed, both for high performance and low power applications. This article describes several 32nm and 28nm nodes from Intel, IBM’s Common Platform and TSMC, plus novel applications such as IBM’s 32nm eDRAM that have been disclosed at IEDM and VLSI.
Exploring the Intel and Achronix Deal
Intel recently announced they would manufacture 22nm FPGA’s for Achronix, a small start up. Intel’s process technology and fabs are the heart of the company. Opening up to third parties is a tremendous departure from the status quo – one that surprised and perplexed many people. Our analysis explores three possible explanations and infers that Intel is enabling complementary technologies rather than entering the foundry business.
Process Technology at IEDM 2008
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David Kanter discusses 32nm process technologies presented at IEDM 2008 and VLSI 2009, including a discussion of high-k dielectrics and metal gates, immersion lithography and double patterning. Results from key manufacturers such as Intel, IBM/AMD, TSMC, Toshiba and others are discussed, analyzed and compared against previous generations using metrics for density (logic and SRAM) and switching speed metrics (for NFETs and PFETs).
3D Integration: A Revolution in Design
The continuing pace of chip level feature miniaturization – Moore’s Law – has resulted in the doubling of the number of transistors per unit area approximately every couple of years. Chip designers have been provided with a plethora of transistor options to choose from in order to optimize for a given constraint. New materials with higher dielectric constants such as hafnium-based high-k gate oxide materials, along with metal gate electrodes, decrease leakage and boost drive current. Strained silicon engineering enables higher transistor switching speeds. Different transistor designs featuring multiple threshold voltages optimize for low power or high performance applications.
Intel’s 45nm Surprise: High-k Dielectrics and Metal Gates
Manufacturing Versus Design With the announcement of the Core microarchitecture at Spring IDF of last year, Intel publicly stated their intentions to regain the lead in the world of x86 microprocessors. In a rather impressive fashion, the folks at Intel got down to business and executed almost flawlessly on their plans in 2006. Pretty much […]
A Historical Look at the VAX: DEC, NVAX, Alpha and Competitors
A Historical Look at the VAX: DEC, NVAX, Alpha and the Competition [Part II] Editor’s Note and Introduction: This series of articles first appeared last summer in the comp.arch newsgroup, in a series of posts by John Mashey. Since then, it has been updated, edited and enriched with additional material and graphs by David Kanter, […]
A Historical Look at the VAX: Microprocessor Economics
Editor’s Note: This series of articles first appeared last summer in the comp.arch newsgroup, in a series of posts by John Mashey. Since then, it has been updated, edited and enriched with additional material and graphs by David Kanter, all with permission of the author. Introduction The VAX was an orthogonal, 32-bit CISC instruction set […]
IEDM 2005: Selected Coverage
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Introduction The 2005 International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) was held in the Hilton Hotel on Connecticut Ave in Washington DC from December 4 through December 7. In the four day period, 1800 attendees from all over the world listened to and examined materials presented on the state of the art in the field of semiconductor […]
The Incredible Shrinking CPU
This article discusses three problems facing modern high performance MPU architects: decreasing returns from ILP, increasing power dissipation and relatively constant interconnect performance.