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UPDATED: GlobalFoundries Announces 20nm Process: No SOI, But…




Update August 30, 2011, 9:36PM Pacific – We have received word from GlobalFoundries and SOITEC that the statements made today during press luncheon ended up sounding different than what was meant. As we expected, GlobalFoundries remain comitted to SOI (as we all expect) for the process nodes in which SOI makes sense, i.e. high performance silicon nodes, such as 22nm, 14nm, 10nm and beyond.

Original Article
At the GlobalTechnology Conference 2011, GlobalFoundries officially presented the 20nm silicon manufacturing process which will debut in two flavors during 2013 and 2014.

Gregg Bartlett, GlobalFoundries

Senior executive Gregg Bartlett hosted a session in which he demonstrated GlobalFoundries commitment First and foremost, the company reiterated its roadmap on the current state of 28nm and explained the next step – the 20nm process.

First and foremost, there will be two versions of 20nm process node, which is the clean full node shrink from the 28nm. The biggest change between 32/28nm and the upcoming 20nm node will be the switch from Gate First HKMG (GlobalFoundries unique approach) to Gate Last HKMG (as used by Intel and the competitors), as the company analyzed both approaches and came to a conclusion that the 10-20% die shrink reduction between the two will no longer be the key selling point.

The 20nm process is a single technology platform, bringing both 20nm-LPM (Low-Power Manufacturing) and 20nm-SHP (Super High Performance) under the same 0.9V umbrella with the support for OD (Overdrive).
According to Greg, 20nm SHP brings twice the gate density, 25% speed bump and 30% in power savings over the 28nm process, which brought in a lot of improvements when compared to the 32nm and 40nm processes.

When it comes to low-power manufacturing, 20nm-LPM brings a lot of improvements over the upcoming 28nm-ULP process, including a 35% increase in speed and up to 40% in power savings. The company plans to launch the initial 20nm sample production ready by fourth quarter 2012, with the process rollout throughout 2013.

The key part of the announcement will be the introduction of Extreme Ultra Violet (EUV) production in preparation to move from CMOS transistor technology. According to GlobalFoundries, EUV will debut as a prototype node at the second half of 20nm process, not expected before 2014-2015 timeframe.

A very important part is also the decision not to support SOI on the 20nm process, as it is a full node shrink from 28nm bulk. Ajit Manocha, interim CEO to GlobalFoundries went on to state: “The decision not to go with SOI was made from pure business standpoint. We’re a business, not emotional.”

However, GlobalFoundries will continue to extensively utilize SOI on the 32nm node, as well as on the upcoming 22nm and 14nm nodes, when an even more advanced generation of SOI will make its debut. SOI is more tied to AMD and the newly engaged SOI customers, while the 28nm and 20nm customers all utilize bulk silicon.

Original Author: Theo Valich

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