Global Foundries talks 28 and 20nm at GTC Asia

28nm next year, followed by 20nm in 2012/2013

EARLIER TODAY WE attended Global Foundries Technology Conference Asia 2010 (GTC) and judging by the presentations, the company is without a doubt getting ready to give it its best to beat TSMC at its own game. Global Foundries is readying its 28nm production ramp and some early products are already being made, although this is only risk production with actual full on production taking place later next year.

Global Foundries also showed off a new roadmap which included a few new additions such as its 28nm HPP and various 22/20nm production technologies which are set to arrive in 2012/2013. As for its 32nm production node, well, it’s fully operational for SHP or Super High Performance parts, i.e. AMD’s x86 processors and although this is still only risk production as well, this should be moving to a standard production line early next year.

Next year we’ll be looking at three key 28nm products from Global Foundries, 28nm HP or High Performance, 28nm SLP or Super Low Power and the recently added 28nm HPP which is a new power efficient high performance solution. The 28nm HPP manufacturing technology is specifically targeting the high-end mobile space where it’s important to have a good trade-off between performance and power and Global Foundries thinks that this is the ideal manufacturing technology for this market space. However, 28nm HPP can also be used for anything that would have been manufactured using the 28nm HP technology.

It’s also important to point out that Global Foundries are sticking with Gate First, unlike Intel and TSMC which has moved to Gate Last. Global Foundries claims that by doing this it can offer a superior solution to Gate Last, as not only does it mean that no-one has to do any changes to the way that they design their chips, but the company also claims that Gate First offers equal or better power performance compared to Gate Last. We’ll see Gate First in both 32 and 28nm and at 28nm Global Foundries claims a 10-20 percent smaller die compared to using Gate Last at the same die size. Gate First is also said to offer some layout style advantages over Gate Last, such as bi-directional poly, poly jogs and large caps, something that isn’t meant to be possible when using Gate Last. Finally Global Foundries claims that there are significant savings to be had from using Gate First over Gate Last in terms of the relative cost over a four year product portfolio lifecycle.

All of Global Foundries new manufacturing technologies will rely on High-K Metal Gate (HKMG) and the company was not shy to highlight the advantages of HKMG. The company claims up to two times gate density increase, up to 30 percent performance improvement, up to 40 percent active power reduction and 50 percent power leakage reduction compared to traditional 40nm manufacturing technologies. Those are no small claims and we’ll have to wait and see if Global Foundries can deliver on its promises come next year.S|A

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